USA women's freestyle roster set for 2019 Pan American Championships in Argentina

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | April 10, 2019, 2:05 p.m. (ET)

The United States is sending an impressive women’s freestyle lineup to the 2019 Senior Pan American Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 18-21.

Next week’s roster is highlighted by four 2018 World medalists, including four-time World champion and returning Pan Am champion Adeline Gray, who will compete at 76 kg.

After taking the 2017 season off, Gray came back last season on fire, tearing up all the competition in her way and finishing the year with a World gold medal in a deep 76 kg weight class.

Not only is Gray a four-time World champion but she also has two other Senior World medals, which are bronzes from the 2011 and 2013 World Championships. She was also the USA’s representative at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Next week marks Gray’s third Pan American competition. In addition to her 2018 Pan Am Championships gold, Gray also owns a 2015 Pan American Games title.

2018 World silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt will take the mat at 53 kg, seeking to claim her fourth Pan Am gold. Last year, Hildebrandt dominated the continental championships and was named tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.

She went on to win her first Senior World medal in Budapest, Hungary, in October, finishing second at 53 kg with an impressive performance. As a result, Hildebrandt, a two-time Senior World Team member, was recently named USA Wrestling’s Women’s Freestyle Wrestler of the Year.

2019 World bronze medalists Mallory Velte and Tamyra Mensah-Stock join the lineup at 62 kg and 68 kg, respectively.

Velte is fresh off a big win at the Beat the Streets LA’s Hollywood Wrestles Bollywood, where she took out 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik of India.

Since winning her first World medal in October, Velte has also secured bronze medals at the Dave Schultz Memorial International and the Grand Prix of Germany.

Velte aims for her first Pan Am title. She took fifth at the 2017 Pan American Championships in Brazil.

Mensah-Stock, who also won her first World medal in October, has been on a roll recently.

In January, she became the first American in any style to win three Ivan Yarygin titles, and in March, she claimed the crown at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov Tournament in Ruse, Bulgaria. Both were UWW Ranking Series events.

Next week, will be Mensah-Stock’s first trip to a Pan American Championships.

Kelsey Campbell, a 2012 Olympian and four-time U.S. Open champion, will represent the U.S. at 59 kg. Campbell is a two-time Pan Am champion, winning in 2011 and 2016, and a two-time U.S. World Team member. She also won the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, but the weight was not qualified for the Olympic Games.

2018 Senior World Team member Jacarra Winchester will compete at 55 kg in Argentina. Last year, Winchester knocked off 207 World bronze medalist Becka Leathers to earn a spot on her first Senior World Team. In Budapest, Winchester finished fifth in the world at her weight.

Since then, she has won the Dave Schultz Memorial International and took sixth at the Grand Prix of Germany.

The new No. 1 wrestler in the nation at 50 kg, Erin Golston, will compete in her first Senior Pan American Championships next week.

Golston, who recently took second at the Dan Kolov Tournament, is a three-time Junior World medalist, winning bronzes in 2011 and 2012 and claiming a silver medal in 2013.

There will be three 2018 Final X runner-ups in the lineup, including Alex Hedrick, Julia Salata and Rachel Watters.

Hedrick, a two-time WCWA runner-up, made the Junior World Team and the Senior National Team last season at 57 kg.

Two-time Pan Am medalist Salata heads to her third continental championships, wrestling for the Red, White and Blue at 65 kg. She won Pan Am bronzes in 2013 and 2014.

Watters is a five-time age-group World Team member, competing at three Junior World Championships (2-15, 2016, 2017) and two U23 World Championships (2017, 2018).

The tournament will serves two big purposes. First, it is a ranking tournament for the 2019 Senior World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, where the points go to the individual, not the country.

Also it is a qualifier for the 2019 Pan American Games in August, where only Olympic weights will be contested. The three highest-placing athletes at each weight from countries that have not yet qualified, will earn spots at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. Since this event will have two bronze winners, those two will face off for true-third to qualify their nation, if necessary.

The U.S. women’s freestyle has four weights qualified (50 kg, 53 kg, 62 kg 76 kg) and aims to receive bids at 57 kg and 68 kg.

According to the 2019 USA Wrestling World Team Trials Qualification and Procedures for women’s freestyle, all remaining USA Pan American Championships women’s freestyle representatives who have not yet qualified for the World Team Trials will receive a bid to the Trials in May in Raleigh, N.C.

The women’s freestyle tournament will be held on April 19-20. Greco-Roman will compete on April 18-19, and men’s freestyle will wrap up the tournament on April 20-21. For all four days, the tournament will begin at 10 a.m. local time with the qualification rounds and repechage. The finals are set for 5 p.m. local time each day.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, is situated one hour ahead of U.S. Eastern Time.

Fans can watch all the action live on Trackwrestling.com and keep up with live updates on Twitter @USAWrestling.

2019 SENIOR PAN AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 18-21

U.S. women’s freestyle roster
50 kg: Erin Golston (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC)
53 kg: Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC)
55 kg: Jacarra Winchester (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC)
57 kg: Alex Hedrick (Fair Oaks, Calif./Titan Mercury WC)
59 kg: Kelsey Campbell (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids)
62 kg: Mallory Velte (Sacramento, Calif./Titan Mercury WC)
65 kg: Julia Salata (Bristol, Tenn./Sunkist Kids)
68 kg: Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC)
72 kg: Rachel Watters (Ankeny, Iowa/New York AC/Aries WC)
76 kg: Adeline Gray (Denver, Colo./New York AC)

National Women’s Freestyle head coach – Terry Steiner, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Israel Silva, Fresno, Calif.
Coach – Cleo Lane, Pinedale, Calif.

Team leader – Elison Dantas, Garanhuns, Brazil

Medical – Jodi Loecke, Windsor, Colo.
Medical – Dr. Vermon Esplin, Chubbuck, Idaho
Nutritionist – Rob Skinner, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Referee – Casey Goessl, Osceola, Wisc.
Referee – Sammy Julian, Schuylkill Haven, Pa.
Referee – Jason Babi, Centennial, Colo.
Referee – Danny Blackshear, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Communications – Taylor Miller, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Schedule
Thursday, April 18
10 a.m. – Qualification rounds (GR 55-60-63-67-72-97-130kg)
4:30 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies
5 p.m. – Finals (GR 55-60-63-67-72-97-130kg)

Friday, April 19
10 a.m. – Qualification rounds (GR 77-82-87kg & WW 55-59-65-72kg)
5 p.m. – Finals (GR 77-82-87kg & WW 55-59-65-72kg)

Saturday, April 20
10 a.m. – Qualification rounds (WW 50-53-57-62-68-76kg & FS 79-92kg)
5 p.m. – Finals (WW 50-53-57-62-68-76kg & FS 79-92kg)

Sunday, April 21
10 a.m. – Qualification rounds (FS – 57-61-65-70-74-86-97-125kg)
5 p.m. – Finals (FS – 57-61-65-70-74-86-97-125kg)