Native Texas wrestlers to headline Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Frisco, Texas, March 4-6

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | Feb. 11, 2016, 11:40 a.m. (ET)
USA Wrestling will be hosting two major international events at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas, the Pan American Wrestling Championships, Feb. 26-28 and the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier, set for March 4-6.

Native Texans will play a prominent role with the American delegation at the second event, the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier, as two Texans will be competing and another will be coaching.

2012 Olympian and two-time World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev, a native of Arlington, Texas and 2016 U.S. Open champion Tamyra Mensah, a native of Katy, Texas, will compete at the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier, March 4-6. Dlagnev will compete at 125 kg/275 lbs. in men’s freestyle, while Mensah will wrestle at 69 kg/152 lbs. in women’s freestyle.

Dlagnev placed third and fourth in Texas state high school championships for Arlington High School. He went on the Univ. of Nebraska-Kearney, where he won two NCAA Div. II national titles and was also a four-time All-American.

Dlagnev currently trains full-time at the Ohio Regional Training Center in Columbus, Ohio and wrestles for the Sunkist Kids club. He was third in the 2009 and 2014 World Championships, fifth at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, and fifth at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships. He was also a 2008 World University champion.

Dlagnev’s competition will be on Saturday, March 5, the day that the entire men’s freestyle division will be contested

“I am very excited. My family gets to see me there, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone when I wrestle there. We will be having an acclimation camp and getting settled down for the tournament. It will be held in our own time zone and the event should be run very well structured. I am looking to be ready and at my best there,” said Dlagnev.

Mensah won two Texas state girls titles for Morgan Ranch High School in 2010 and 2011. She went to Wayland Baptist University, which was the first varsity college program in Texas for many years. She was a WCWA women’s college national champion for Wayland Baptist in 2014 and was a three-time All-American.

Mensah is current a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. and wrestles for the Titan Mercury Wrestling Club. She was a 2016 U.S. Open champion, and recently won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Mensah’s competition will be on Friday, March 4, the day that the entire women’s freestyle division will be contested

“I am extremely excited. It’s not because I am wrestling in the Pan Ams, but I am also finally wrestling in an elite tournament where the Texans I know can come see me wrestle. They have not seen me wrestle in five years, since back in high school. They have been following me on social media and supporting me. For them to see me in action, that’s magical. I love it,” said Mensah.

2000 Olympic champion Brandon Slay, a native of Amarillo, is now USA Wrestling’s Assistant National Freestyle Coach Brandon Slay. He will help coach the men’s freestyle team at the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier.

Slay won three Texas state titles for Tascosa High School in Amarillo. He won two Cadet World medals and competed on a Junior World team as a young athlete. He went to the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a two-time NCAA runner-up. Slay was a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center when he won his Olympic gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Slay has a strong connection to the Dallas area. He won the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which was held in Dallas, with a strong Texas fan base cheering for him there. Later, he returned to Dallas where he worked in the business world. While there, he was board member and on the staff of the Dallas Dynamite, a non-profit wrestling organization in Dallas that trains and mentors young athletes. He joined USA Wrestling’s national staff in 2009.

The Pan American Olympic Qualifier event serves as a major qualifier for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The top two place winners in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes will qualify their nation to compete at the Olympic Games. Pan American nations can only qualify athletes at weight classes which have not yet been qualified for the Rio Games. In total, 36 spots in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are up for grabs.

Tickets for both events can be ordered at the same time. All-Session General Admission prices are $14.50 for a single day pass, $39.50 for a three-day pass and $59.50 for a six-day pass. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

Please note that the three-day pass will be good for either the three days of the Pan American Championships or for the Pan American Olympic Qualifier, but cannot be used partially for one event and then the rest on the other.

Click here for direct link for tickets through Ticketmaster.

The complete lineups for Team USA, as well as for each of the other Pan American national teams, will be announced shortly.

For more information, please visit the Pan American Championships and Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier website at:

Media seeking more information and to receive credentials to cover either or both events should contact Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling at

Tervel Dlagnev, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids/Ohio RTC)
2009 and 2014 World bronze medalist… Fifth in 2012 Olympic Games… Fifth in 2011 and 2013 World Championships… 2008 World University champion… 2011 Pan American Games champion… 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 U.S. Open champion… 2012 World Cup champion… Second in 2009 and 2010 U.S. Open… Second in 2010 World Team Trials… Third in 2008 U.S. Open… Third in 2014 FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals… 2009 FILA Golden Grand Prix Finals champion… 2010 and 2012 Pan American Championships champion… 2010 and 2013 Medved International champion (Belarus)… 2009 Ukrainian Memorial International champion…. 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 New York AC International Open champion… Second in 2013 World Cup… Second in 2012 Ivan Yarygin Memorial International (Russia)… Third in 2011 Ivan Yarygin Memorial International (Russia)… Fourth in 2007 U.S. Open… 2007 Sunkist Kids International Open champion… 2007 and 2008 NCAA Div. II champion for Nebraska-Kearney… Second in 2006 NCAA Div. II Nationals and sixth in 2005… Third and fourth in Texas state high school championships… Moved to the USA from Bulgaria at the age of four… College: Nebraska-Kearney… High School: Arlington, Texas… Born: November 19, 1985… Age: 30

Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC)
2016 U.S. Open champion…. Third in 2016 Olympic Test Event… Second in 2015 U.S. World Team Trials… 2015 University Nationals champion… Third in 2014 U.S. Open… Second in 2013 U.S. Open… 2014 WCWA Women’s College national champion for Wayland Baptist… Second in 2014 University Nationals… Second in 2013 Olympia International (Greece)… Second in 2013 Grand Prix of Spain… Third in 2013 WCWA Women’s College Nationals… Third in 2012 and 2013 University Nationals… Fourth in 2012 WCWA Women’s College Nationals… Second in 2010 Junior Nationals… 2010 and 2011 Texas girls state high school champion… College: Wayland Baptist… High School: Katy, Texas (Morgan Ranch)… Born: October 11, 1992… Age: 23

At Frisco, Texas, Feb. 26-28

Friday, February 26
Women’s Freestyle Wrestling (48kg, 53kg, 55kg, 58kg, 60kg, 63kg, 69kg and 75kg)
10:00 am - 3:00 pm - Qualification Rounds and Repechage
5:30 pm - 6:00 pm - Opening Ceremony
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm – Medal Match Finals

Saturday, February 27
Men’s Freestyle Wrestling (57kg, 61kg, 65kg, 70kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg, 125kg)
10:00 am - 3:00 pm - Qualification Rounds and Repechage
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm – Medal Match Finals

Sunday, February 28
Greco-Roman Wrestling (59kg, 66kg, 71kg, 75kg, 80kg, 85kg, 98kg, 130kg)
10:00 am - 3:00 pm - Qualification Rounds and Repechage
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm – Medal Match Finals

At Frisco, Texas, March 4-6

Friday March 4
Women’s Freestyle Wrestling (48kg, 53kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg and 75kg)
10:00 am - 2:00 pm - Qualification Rounds and Repechage
5:00 pm - 5:15 pm - Opening Ceremonies
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm – Medal Match Finals

Saturday, March 5
Men’s Freestyle Wrestling (57kg, 65kg, 74kg, 86kg, 97kg, 125kg)
10:00 am - 2:00 pm - Qualification Rounds and Repechage
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm – Medal Match Finals

Sunday March 6
Greco-Roman Wrestling (59kg, 66kg, 75kg, 85kg, 98kg, 130kg)
10:00 am - 2:00 pm - Qualification Rounds and Repechage
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm – Medal Match Finals