USA dominates Pan Am Championships in freestyle, with six champions and two runners-up

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | April 26, 2015, 7:33 p.m. (ET)
Tyler Caldwell of the USA scores a takedown on Cuba’s Luis Quintana, on the way to his gold medal at 74 kg at the Pan American Championships. T.R. Foley photo.

SANTIAGO, Chile – The United States dominated the men’s freestyle competition at the Pan American Championships on Sunday, with six champions and two runners-up.

The United States went an amazing 27-2 in the competition, with 17 of the bouts by either pin or technical fall. In the morning session, the USA went a perfect 22-0.

Team USA won the team title with 78 of a possible 80 points, a full 20 points ahead of runner-up Canada with 58 points. Cuba, which had the other two individual champions, was third with 54 points.

“The entire team came not just to compete and win, but they wanted to dominate. That was what we talked about and expected. We lost two close matches in tournament that we could have won. We have to continue to build our skills, but the team did a great job of controlling their matches and continuing to score. Coaches Jeff Buxton, Kerry McCoy and Mark Perry were great for the team with their knowledge and intensity,” said National Freestyle Coach Bruce Burnett.

This was the final qualifying event for the 2015 Pan American Games, which will be hosted in Toronto, Canada, July 15-18. The U.S. had three weight classes already qualified coming into the event. The USA qualified the other three weight classes, 65 kg, 86 kg and 97 kg, with their efforts in Santiago. (Only Olympic weight classes are contested at the Pan Am Games).

Winning his third straight Pan American Championships gold medal was Zach Rey (Bethlehem, Pa./Lehigh Valley AC) at 125 kg/275 lbs., who beat Andres Ramos of Cuba in the finals, 4-0. The past NCAA champion from Lehigh finished with a 3-0 record, with other wins over athletes from Puerto Rico and Canada.

Two wrestlers won their second career Pan American Championships gold medal, Andrew Hochstrasser (Boise, Idaho/Titan Mercury WC) at 61 kg/134 lbs. and Dustin Kilgore (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 97 kg/213 lbs.

Hochstrasser had two technical falls, including a 10-0 victory in the finals over Wilmar Hernandez of Colombia. In the semifinals, he beat Cesar Osorio of Venezuela, 10-0. It was his second straight Pan American Championships title.

Kilgore, a past NCAA champion for Kent State, went 4-0 in the tournament, including a 6-2 win over Abraham Conyedo of Cuba. He won his first three matches with pins over athletes from Nicaragua, Brazil and Argentina. Kilgore won his first Pan American title in 2012.

Winning their first Pan American Championships titles were Jason Chamberlain (Lincoln, Neb./Titan Mercury WC) at 65 kg/143 lbs., Dustin Schlatter (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 70 kg/154 lbs. and Tyler Caldwell (Stillwater, Okla./Sunkist Kids) at 74 kg/163 lbs.

Chamberlain went 4-0 for the day, including a 6-0 win over Abel Herrera of Peru in the finals. A big win came in the quarterfinals when he beat Lazaro Carbonell of Cuba, 11-5.

Schlatter a 2009 World Team member, dominated his five-athlete roundrobin, winning all four matches by technical fall and outscoring his opponents 41-0. Included was a 10-0 technical fall over eventual runner-up Ahmed Shamiya of Canada. Schlatter is a past NCAA champion for Minnesota.

Caldwell, a 2014 University World champion, went 4-0 with two pins, and defeated Jevon Balfour of Canada, 9-0 in the finals. Caldwell had a big semifinal win over Luis Quintana of Cuba, 9-0.

The USA went an impressive 4-2 against opponents from Cuba, their top challenger in the event. The only losses to Cuba occurred in the championship finals.

Defending Pan American champion Zach Sanders (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) won the silver medal at 57 kg/125.5 lbs., dropping a 2-8 finals match to Alfredo Cisnero of Cuba. He won his first three matches to reach the finals, including two technical falls.

Chris Perry (Stillwater, Okla./Titan Mercury WC) was the silver medalist at 86 kg/189 lbs., dropping a tight 1-3 match in the finals to Yurieski Torreblanca of Cuba. He also won three straight matches to make the finals. Perry is a past NCAA champion for Oklahoma State, and a Junior World medalist.

The last time the USA had six Pan American champions in freestyle was in 2012, when the team won six of seven weights in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Over the three-day Pan American Championships, the USA won 11 gold medals, with six in men’s freestyle, three in Greco-Roman and two in women’s freestyle. The USA won team titles in both men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman.

At Santiago, Chile

Men’s freestyle results

57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Gold – Alfredo Cisnero (Cuba)
Silver – Zach Sanders (USA)
Bronze – Jefferson Maya Figueroa (Ecuador)
Bronze – Steven Takahashi (Canada)
5th – Yersor Hernandez (Colombia)
5th – Pablo Benitez (Peru)

61 kg/134 lbs.
Gold – Andrew Hochstrasser (USA)
Silver – Wilmar Hernandez (Colombia)
Bronze – Vincent DeMarinis (Canada)
Bronze – Cesar Osorio (Venezuela)
5th – Danny Naranjo (Ecuador)
6th – Felipe Esteves (Brazil)

65 kg/143 lbs.
Gold – Jason Chamberlain (USA)
Silver – Abel Herrera (Peru)
Bronze – Lazaro Carbonell (Cuba)
Bronze – Wilfredo Henriquez Hernandez (Venezuela)
5th – Luis Portillo (El Salvador)
5th – Martin Miranda (Guatamala)

70 kg/154 lbs.
Gold – Dustin Schlatter (USA)
Silver – Ahmed Shamiya (Canada)
Bronze – Esteban Sanchez (Colombia)
4th – Lincoln Messias (Brazil)
5th – Juan Pablo Peralta (Chile)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold – Tyler Caldwell (USA)
Silver – Jevon Balfour (Canada)
Bronze – Luis Quintana (Cuba)
Bronze – Eduardo Gajardo (Chile)
5th – Yoan Blanco Reinoso (Ecuador)
5th – Pedro Rocha (Brazil)

86 kg/189 lbs.
Gold – Yurieski Torreblanca (Cuba)
Silver – Chris Perry (USA)
Bronze – Pool Ambrosio (Peru)
Bronze – Matthew Miller (Canada)
5th – Luis Perez Sosa (Dominican Republic)
5th – Pedro Ceballos Fuentes (Venezuela)

97 kg/213 lbs.
Gold – Dustin Kilgore (USA)
Silver – Abraham Conyedo (Cuba)
Bronze – Juan Bittencourt (Brazil)
Bronze – Arujun Singh Gill (Canada)
5th – Nathanael Rose (Trinidad and Tobago)
5th – Yuri Maier (Argentina)

125 kg/275 lbs.
Gold – Zach Rey (USA)
Silver – Andres Ramos (Cuba)
Bronze – Korey Jarvis (Canada)
Bronze – Luis Vivenes Urbaneja (Venezuela)
5th – Hugo Cunha (Brazil)
5th – Edgardo Lopez Morell (Puerto Rico)

U.S. men’s freestyle performances

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Zach Sanders, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 2nd
WIN Hecjomar Cruz Encarnacion (Puerto Rico), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Yersor Hernandez (Colombia), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Steven Takahashi (Canada), 10-3
LOSS Alfredo Cisnero (Cuba), 2-8

61 kg/134 lbs. – Andrew Hochstrasser, Boise, Idaho (Titan Mercury WC), 1st
WIN Cesar Osorio (Venezuela), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Wilmar Hernandez (Colombia), tech fall 10-0

65 kg/143 lbs. – Jason Chamberlain, Lincoln, Neb. (Titan Mercury WC), 1st
WIN Wandeci Silva (Brazil), pin
WIN Lazaro Carbonell (Cuba), 11-5
WIN Luis Portillo (El Salvador), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Abel Herrera (Peru), 6-0

70 kg/154 lbs. – Dustin Schlatter, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 1st
WIN Esteban Sanchez (Colombia), tech. fall, 10-0
WIN Ahmed Shamiya (Canada), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Juan Pablo Peralto (Chile), tech. fall 11-0
WIN Lincoln Messias (Brazil), tech. fall 10-0

74 kg/163 lbs. – Tyler Caldwell, Stillwater, Okla. (Sunkist Kids), 1st
WIN Edison Hurtado (Colombia), tech. fall 11-0
WIN Yoan Blanco Reinoso (Ecuador), tech. fall 10-0
WIN Luis Quintana (Cuba), 9-0
WIN Jevon Balfour (Canada), 9-0

86 kg/189 lbs. – Chris Perry, Stillwater, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC), 2nd
WIN Jose Mercado Estacio (Ecuador), pin
WIN Matthew Miller (Canada), 7-0
WIN Pedro Ceballos Fuentes (Venezuela), 7-2
LOSS Yurieski Torreblanca (Cuba), 1-3

97 kg/213 lbs. – Dustin Kilgore, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 1st
WIN Moises Friddrick (Nicaragua), pin
WIN Juan Bittencourt (Brazil) pin
WIN Yuri Maier (Argentina), pin
WIN Abraham Conyedo (Cuba), 6-2

125 kg/275 lbs. – Zach Rey, Bethlehem, Pa. (Lehigh Valley AC), 1st
WIN Edgardo Lopez Morell (Puerto Rico), tech. fall 11-0
WIN Korey Jarvis (Canada), 2-1
WIN Andres Ramos (Cuba), 4-0

Team Standings
1. United States, 78 pts.
2. Canada, 58
3. Cuba, 54
4. Venezuela, 36
5. Brazil, 34
6. Colombia, 27
7. Peru, 23
8. Ecuador, 22
9. Argentina, 18
10. Chile, 17
11. Puerto Rico, 10
12. Mexico, 8
13. Dominican Republic, 7
14. Nicaragua, 7
15. El Salvador, 6
16. Guatemala, 6
17. Panama, 6
18. Trinidad and Tobago, 6
19. Honduras, 3
20. Bahamas, 2