USA Wrestling Clodgo earns Olympic...

Clodgo earns Olympic berth for USA at 63 kg with semifinal win at Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Texas

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | March 04, 2016, 3:27 p.m. (ET)

Erin Clodgo of the USA battles Katerina Vidiaux of Cuba in the 63 kg semifinals at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Texas. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors

FRISCO, Texas - 2015 World Team member Erin Clodgo (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) earned a spot in the finals at the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier, qualifying the United States for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.

In the morning session, Clodgo scored a dominant 8-0 semifinal match against 2011 Pan American Games champion Katerina Vidiaux Lopez of Cuba to advance to the finals. Clodgo lost her two previous matches against Vidiaux, including a 7-11 loss in the 2015 Pan American Games.

Clodgo scored a takedown and a turn for a 4-0 lead then added another takedown to lead 6-0 at the break. Clodgo had Vidiaux on her back and the mat referee called a pin, but it was after time ran out. In the second period, she added another takedown and held great position to close out the 8-0 win.

“I still have the finals to go but I knew that was going to be my toughest match. I’ve wrestled her twice and she’s beaten me twice before. She’s got me in throws every time but today I did really good in staying in position, not letting her talk me out of it and just constantly keeping forward pressure. That worked completely in my benefit. It was a completely different style of wrestling and a completely different wrestler out there," said Clodgo.

National Coach Terry Steiner was impressed with how Clodgo competed against Vidiaux.

“At 63 kilos, I think Erin had a great match. She’s lost to that person twice before, but she did a great job of really shutting her down and taking advantage of that,” said Steiner.

Clodgo will face Lais Nunes de Olivera of Brazil in the finals. Clodgo is looking forward to her the finals, but knew the semifinal match was her biggest challenge today.

“Anything is possible, I don’t want to underestimate my competition (in the finals) but for me that (semifinal) was my finals match. That was my push. That was my biggest match for me and if I could beat that, anything is possible,” she said.

The United States has now qualified two of the six women’s freestyle wrestling weight classes for the Rio Olympic Games. The USA had already qualified at 75 kg/165 lbs. when Adeline Gray won a World gold medal at the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas, Nev.

Four other U.S. wrestlers competed on Friday, lost a match and did not advance to the finals and did not qualify the United States for those weight classes. There are two other qualifying events available for the USA at those weight classes, in Ulaanbaattar, Mongolia, April 22-24 and in Istanbul, Turkey, May 6-8.

All four of the other U.S. women will compete for bronze medals on Friday night.

Two-time World bronze medalist Alyssa Lampe (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) was beaten in the quarterfinals at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. by Carolina Castillo Hidalgo of Colombia, 1-4. Castillo scored in the first period when Lampe was unable to score on the shot clock. In the second, Castillo was put on the shot clock and did not score, giving Lampe a point to knot it at 1-1. Lampe held the tiebreaker at that point, but Castillo got behind Lampe on a scramble in the final minute of the bout for the winning takedown. A USA challenge to a throw attempt by Lampe was denied after time ran out for Castillo’s final point.

Lampe had opened the tournament with a first period pin over Brenda Bailey Gomez of Honduras in 2:02. After Castillo reached the finals, Lampe was pulled back into repechage, where she pinned Katsiuka Toaza Avelino of Ecuador in 2:20. Her opponent in the bronze-medal bout is Yusneylys Guzman Lopez of Cuba.

At 53 kg/116.5 lbs., three-time U.S. World Team member Whitney Conder (Colorado Springs, Colo./ U.S. Army WCAP) was defeated in her first match, dropping a 0-12 technical fall against 2014 World bronze medalist Jillian Gallays of Canada. Gallays had a huge first period, getting a 9-0 lead including two four-point takedowns on the edge. In the second period, Gallays scored a takedown which the USA challenged, but the challenge was denied and the technical call confirmed.

Gallays reached the finals, and pulled Conder back into a bronze-medal bout against Luisa Valverde Melendres of Ecuador.

Three-time U.S. World Team member Alli Ragan (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) was also beaten in the quarterfinals at 58 kg/128 lbs. by 2014 Pan American champion Michelle Fazzari of Canada, 4-5.

Ragan jumped to a 4-0 lead in the match, with a takedown in the first period and another early in the second period. Fazzari got her first point when Ragan was penalized for holding her hair. Shortly after, Fazzari hit a front headlock roll for four points and the winning score.

Ragan had opened the tournament with a 10-0 technical fall over Emily Sanchez Ortega of Panama. When Fazzari reached the finals, Ragan was pulled back into a bronze medal bout against Virginia Jimenez Fernandez of Venezuela.

2016 U.S. Open champion Tamyra Mensah (Katy, Texas/Titan Mercury WC) was defeated in the semifinals at 69 kg/152 lbs. by 2012 World silver medalist Dorothy Yeats of Canada, 0-5. Yeats scored on a pushout to lead 1-0 at the break and added two second-period takedowns for the win.

Mensah won her first match against Maria Jose Acosta of Venezuela, 5-0. By losing in the semifinals, Mensah earned a bronze-medal bout, where she will face Yudari Sanchez Rodriguez of Cuba.

“Of course, these other teams are going to come out fighting and swinging. We were in the fight but I don’t think we triggered enough times. I’m not disappointed with the effort of any of them, but we need to get our offense going. This isn’t going to fall into our lap and we need to go and earn these spots. We needed to be a bit more stubborn today,” she said.

All of the winners of the semifinals in five of the weight classes have qualified their nation for the Olympic Games. The 75 kg/165 lbs. weight class is a five athlete round robin, and final Olympic qualification will not be determined until the evening session.

The women’s freestyle competition concludes with a 5:00 p.m. session featuring the Medal Match Finals.

Coach Steiner is focusing on getting the remaining four weights qualified in either Mongolia or Turkey later this spring.

“Mongolia will be our next opportunity to qualify these weights. We have a lot of work to do. The athletes focus is on making the Olympic team. My focus is getting the weights qualified. We’ll have to leave here and re-group a little bit but we have got to get back to work. They have a big tournament coming in a month from now at the Olympic Trials and they’re gonna want to be on top of their form for that,” said Steiner.

The men’s freestyle competition is on Saturday, and the Greco-Roman competition is on Sunday.

At Frisco, Texas

Medal Match pairings

48 kilos/105.5 lbs.
Gold medal – Patricia Bermudez (Argentina) vs. Carolina Castillo Hidalgo (Colombia)
Bronze medal – Laura Pedro Torres (Mexico) vs. Susana De Almeida Dos Santos (Brazil)
Bronze medal – Yusneylys Guzman Lopez (Cuba) vs. Alyssa Lampe (USA)

53 kilos/116.5 lbs.
Gold medal – Jillian Gallays (Canada) vs. Betzabeth Arguello Villegas (Venezuela)
Bronze medal – Whitney Conder (USA) vs. Luisa Valverde Melendres (Ecuador)
Bronze medal – Leidy Cifuentes Carranza (Colombia) vs. Lianna Montero Herrera (Cuba)

58 kilos/128 lbs.
Gold medal – Joice Souza da Silva (Brazil) vs. Michelle Fazzari (Canada)
Bronze medal – Alli Ragan (USA) vs. Virginia Jimenez Fernandez (Venezuela)
Bronze medal – Yanet Sovero Nino (Canada) vs. Lissette Antes Castillo

63 kilos/138.75 lbs.
Gold medal – Erin Clodgo (USA) vs. Lais Nunes de Olivera (Brazil)
Bronze medal – Leidy Izquierdo Mendez (Venezuela) vs. Nathaly Griman Herrera (Venezuela)
Bronze medal – Katerina Vidiaux Lopez (Cuba)

69 kilos/152 lbs.
Gold medal – Gilda De Olivera (Brazil) vs. Dorothy Yeats (Canada)
Bronze medal – Tamyra Mensah (USA) vs. Yudari Sanchez Rodriguez (Cuba)
Bronze medal – Diana Miranda Gonzales (Mexico)

75 kilos/165 lbs.
Round Robin Fifth Match - Erica Weibe (Canada) vs. Cinthia Morales Repizo (Mexico)
Round Robin Fifth Match - Lisset Hechevarria Medina (Cuba) vs. Jaramit Weffer Guanipa (Venezuela)
RR1 – Erica Weibe (Canada) tech fall Jaramit Weffer Guanipa (Venezuela), 10-0
RR1 – Dayanara Rivera Suarez (Puerto Rico) def. Lisset Hechevarria Medina (Cuba), 9-2
RR2 - Erica Weibe (Canada) def. Dayanara Rivera Suarez (Puerto Rico), 2-0
RR2 - Jaramit Weffer Guanipa (Venezuela) forfeit Cinthia Morales Repizo (Mexico)
RR 3 - Dayanara Rivera Suarez (Puerto Rico) def. Cinthia Morales Repizo (Mexico), 11-2
RR 3 - Erica Weibe (Canada) def. Lisset Hechevarria Medina (Cuba), 2-0
RR 4 - Jaramit Weffer Guanipa (Venezuela) fall Dayanara Rivera Suarez (Puerto Rico), 4:52
RR 4 - Lisset Hechevarria Medina (Cuba) def. Cinthia Morales Repizo (Mexico), 1-0

U.S. women’s freestyle performances

48 kg/105.5 lbs - Alyssa Lampe, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
WIN Brenda Bailey Gomez (Honduras), 2:02
LOSS Carolina Castillo Hidalgo (Colombia), 1-4
WIN Katsiuka Toaza Avelino (Ecuador) pin, 2:20
Bronze Medal bout – vs. Yusneylys Guzman Lopez (Cuba)

53 kg/116.5 lbs. - Whitney Conder, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
LOSS Jillian Gallays (Canada), tech. fall 0-12
Bronze medal bout - vs. Luisa Valverde Melendres (Ecuador)

58 kg/128 lbs. - Alli Ragan, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)
WIN Emily Sanchez Ortega (Panama), tech. fall, 10-0
LOSS Michelle Fazzari (Canada), 4-5
Bronze medal bout - Vs. Virginia Jimenez Fernandez (Venezuela)

63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Erin Clodgo, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
WIN Katerina Vidiaux Lopez (Cuba), 8-0
Gold medal bout - Lais Nunes de Olivera (Brazil)

69 kg/152 lbs. - Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC)
WIN Maria Jose Acosta (Venezuela), 5-0
LOSS Dorothy Yeats (Canada), 0-5
Bronze medal bout – Vs. Yudari Sanchez Rodriguez (Cuba)