USA Wrestling Kaylor, McDaniel, Ca...

Kaylor, McDaniel, Cassioppi cap Junior Pan American Championships with men's freestyle gold

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | June 11, 2017, 11:53 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Junior Pan American champion Mason McDaniel gets his hand raised in the 74 kg finals in Lima, Peru. Photo by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling.

Video: U.S. interviews from Junior Pan American Championships

LIMA, Peru – The final day of wrestling at the Junior Pan American Championships saw the Stars and Stripes take over the men’s freestyle tournament with seven of eight U.S. athletes earning a medal.

Americans who struck gold on Sunday evening at Peru’s Villa Deportiva Nacional Videna were Brandon Kaylor (Puyallup, Wash.) at 50 kg/110 lbs., Mason McDaniel (Kirkland, Wash) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Anthony Cassioppi (Roscoe, Ill.) at 120 kg/264 lbs.

After winning the Greco-Roman portion of this event on Friday, Kaylor returned with a 10-0 technical fall over Javier Barrera Palacios of Peru and an 11-8 victory over Oscar Tigreros Urbano of Colombia to tack on his second Junior Pan American gold in the past three days.

“It’s been tough. I’ve had my matches, eleven-eight here, Greco I had a six-to-four match. It really pushes your limits, tests how mental you are, I guess. It’s different. It’s a good experience though and I hope I can come back again,” Kaylor said.

Joining Kaylor with gold medals in both Greco-Roman and freestyle was Cassioppi, who torched all three of his opponents in the heavyweight round-robin bracket. The Illinois native opened with a pin over eventual silver medalist Aly Barghout of Canada in 2:32. Cassioppi’s final two bouts were decided by 10-0 scores.

“I love wrestling. It’s one of my favorite things to do,” Cassioppi said at the end of his marvelous run. “It’s all on me. I can be who I want to be in wrestling, and it’s just a ton of fun, you know. It’s a big game that I like winning.”

SIU-Edwardsville product McDaniel battled through four stout opponents to ascend atop the 74 kg bracket. In the championship match, McDaniel made quick work of Canada’s Johnathon Michaelis, 10-0. He also added two victories by fall on his route to the finals.

“It didn’t go as planned in Greco, so I really wanted to come out and make a statement for freestyle. I wanted to wrestle as hard as I could, and I was just focusing on six minutes at a time, as hard as I could wrestle for six minutes, and I was going to be happy with the outcome no matter what,” McDaniel said.

Two other Americans were able to navigate to the finals, but fell just short of the gold.

Stanford’s NCAA qualifier Gabriel Townsell (Chicago, Ill.) appeared much improved from his Greco-Roman tournament two days ago where he finished in fifth place. Townsell was highly offensive in his 55 kg/121 lbs. run on Sunday as he picked up two technical falls to reach the finals. In the championship bout, Townsell was edged by Alexander Fernandez Pena of the Dominican Republic in a high-flying affair, 10-9.

Dalton Young (Nine Mile Falls, Wash.) appeared locked in on his way to the 60 kg/132 lbs. finals before being ousted by Argentina’s Agustin Destribats, 5-0. Young lost two matches across both international styles this weekend, both close affairs to Destribats. Young earned a bronze medal in the Greco-Roman tournament two days ago.

Those coming home with bronze medals today were Haydn Maley (Roseburg, Ore) at 96 kg/211 lbs. and Leonard Merkin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) at 66 kg/145 lbs. Maley won the Greco-Roman tournament earlier in the weekend, while Merkin earned a bronze.

Greco-Roman silver medalist Thomas Brackett (Eads, Tenn.) suffered an 11-0 loss at the hands of Argentina’s Nicolas Baez to open his day at 84 kg/185 lbs. Baez did not qualify for the finals, thus ending Brackett’s run in Peru.

The U.S. surged to a dominant win in the team standings, finishing 14 points ahead of second-place Colombia. Canada snuck into third place overall with two champions on the day.

Complete brackets, match-by-match results and archived video from the Junior Pan American Championships is available to U.S. residents on

June 9-11 at Lima, Peru

Final Results
50 kg/110 lbs.

Gold – Brandon Kaylor (United States)
Silver – Oscar Tigreros Urbano (Colombia)
Bronze – Lucan Navarrete Vidal (Ecuador)
Bronze – Javier Barrera Palacios (Peru)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Alexander Fernandez Pena (Dominican Republic)
Silver – Gabriel Townsell (United States)
Bronze – Luis Morales Mayancha (Ecuador)
Bronze – Daniel Alves Do Nascimento (Brazil)

60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold – Agustin Destribats (Argentina)
Silver – Dalton Young (United States)
Bronze – Oscar Calvopina Cancio (Ecuador)
Bronze – Julian Horta Acevedo (Colombia)

66 kg/145 lbs.
Gold – Anthony Montero Chirinos (Venezuela)
Silver – Luis Barrios Rochez (Honduras)
Bronze – Albaro Rudesindo Camacho (Dominican Republic)
Bronze – Leonard Merkin (United States)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold – Mason McDaniel (United States)
Silver – Johnathon Michaelis (Canada)
Bronze – Julio Rodriguez Romero (Dominican Republic)
Bronze – Marcos Quesada Martinez (Peru)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Gold – Alexander Moore (Canada)
Silver – Gino Avila Dilbert (Honduras)
Bronze – Carlos Izquierdo Mendez (Colombia)
Bronze – Nicolas Baez (Argentina)

96 kg/211 lbs.
Gold – Nishan Randhawa (Canada)
Silver – Andres Rey Pinzon (Colombia)
Bronze – Blas Ortiz Alayon (Puerto Rico)
Bronze – Haydn Maley (United States)

120 kg/264 lbs.
Gold – Anthony Cassioppi (United States)
Silver – Aly Barghout (Canada)
Bronze – Jose Diaz Ponciano (Guatemala)

U.S. Men’s Freestyle Results

50 kg/110 lbs. – Brandon Kaylor, Puyallup, Wash. (Team Washington), Gold
WIN Javier Barrera Palacios (Peru), 10-0
WIN Oscar Tigreros Urbano (Colombia), 11-8

55 kg/121 lbs. – Gabriel Townsell, Chicago, Ill. (Stanford-California RTC), Silver
WIN Luis Morales Mayancha (Ecuador), 14-4
WIN Jean Perez Camano (Panama), 10-0
LOSS Alexander Fernandez Pena (Dominican Republic), 10-9

60 kg/132 lbs. – Dalton Young, Nine Mile Falls, Wash. (Team Washington), Silver
WIN Hector Candelaria Rivera (Puerto Rico), Fall 5:57
WIN Julian Horta Acevedo (Colombia), 5-2
LOSS Agustin Destribats (Argentina), 5-0

66 kg/145 lbs. – Leonard Merkin, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Princeton WC), Bronze
WIN Gunnar Sales (Canada), 15-4
LOSS Luis Barrios Rochez (Honduras), 10-5
WIN Arbey Alarcon Tovar (Colombia), 10-4

74 kg/163 lbs. – Mason McDaniel, Kirkland, Wash. (Southern Illinois Training Center), Gold
WIN Juan Arreola Mujia (Guatemala), Fall 0:20
WIN Juan Sanchez Cardona (Colombia), 7-4
WIN Julio Rodriguez Romero (Dominican Republic), Fall 1:49
WIN Johnathon Michaelis (Canada), 10-0

84 kg/185 lbs. – Thomas Brackett, Eads, Tenn. (West Tennessee Takedown Club)
LOSS Nicolas Baez (Argentina), 11-0

96 kg/211 lbs. – Haydn Maley, Roseburg, Ore. (Roseburg Mat Club), Bronze
LOSS Nishan Randhawa (Canada), 14-3
WIN Nolberto Solano Araujo (Peru), 11-1

120 kg/264 lbs. – Anthony Cassioppi, Roscoe, Ill. (Hononegah WC), Gold
WIN Aly Barghout (Canada), Fall 2:32
WIN Leo Santana Heredia (Dominican Republic), 10-0
WIN Jose Diaz Ponciano (Guatemala), 10-0