Smith and Hancock advance to Pan Am Games finals, three others go for Greco bronze

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | Aug. 07, 2019, 3:42 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Pat Smith in the first session at 2019 Pan Am Games. Photo by Tony Rotundo,

LIMA, Peru – The USA put two Greco-Roman wrestlers into the finals and three others into the bronze match of the 2019 Pan American Games on the first day of action in Lima, Peru.

Only five athletes competed on Wednesday, including Ildar Hafizov, Ellis Coleman, Pat Smith, Joe Rau and G’Angelo Hancock. 2018 World silver medalist Adam Coon is scheduled to compete tomorrow at 130 kg.

Smith and Hancock advanced to the gold-medal matches at 77 kg and 97 kg, respectively.

A two-time World Team member and three-time Pan American champion, Smith recorded two decisive wins in his morning session.

To open the tournament, Smith used two takedowns for a 4-1 win over three-time Pan Am runner-up Jair Cuero Munoz of Colombia.

In the semifinals, Smith overwhelmed 2019 Junior Pan Am champion Emmanuel Benitez Castro from Mexico in a 5-1 victory, once again, using a pair of takedowns to give him the advantage.

Smith will face Wuilexis Rivas Espinoza of Venezuela, who won the 2015 Pan Am Games at 66 kg. Rivas Espinoza is also a multiple-time Pan American Championships medalist, winning his most recent medal, a silver, at the 2018 continental championships.

Three-time World Team member and 2016 Cadet World bronze medalist G’Angelo Hancock seeks his first Pan Am gold tonight, wrestling in the finals at 97 kg.

In his first two matches, Hancock spent a total of 1:34 on the mat, tallying two quick technical falls.

Against Canada’s Thomas Barreiro in the first round, Hancock went up 4-0 in the first 15 seconds with a takedown and a gut wrench. He tacked on two more takedowns for a 9-0 win in 57 seconds.

To advance to the finals, Hancock powered past 2015 Pan Am Games silver medalist and 2011 Junior World bronze medalist Kevin Mejia of Honduras with a 10-0 tech fall in 37 seconds, thanks to two big four-pointers.

Tonight, Hancock will take on 2019 Senior and Junior Pan Am champion Gabriel Rosillo Kindelan of Cuba in a rematch of this year’s Pan Am Championships finals, where Rosillo Kindelan walked away with a 10-2 win.

Wrestling for bronze tonight is Hafizov at 60 kg, Coleman at 67 kg and Rau at 87 kg.

Coleman went 1-1 this morning, winning by fall in the first round over two-time Junior Pan Am champ Joilson De Brito Ramos Junior of Brazil before dropping his semifinals match to 2016 Olympic champion Ismael Borrero Molina of Cuba.

For bronze, Coleman will battle 2017 Pan Am silver medalist Luis De Leon of Dominican Republic.

At 87 kg, Rau opened his tournament with a 5-3 win against Peru’s Ricardo Cardenas Esquen, a 2009 freestyle and Greco Cadet Pan Am champion. He lost his next bout to two-time Pan American champ Luis Avendano Rojas of Venezuela, who eventually pulled Rau into the bronze match after advancing to the finals.

For bronze, Rau will face 2018 U23 World silver medalist Daniel Gregorich of Cuba.

Hafizov dropped his first match to two-time Pan Am bronze winner Ditcher Toro Castenada of Colombia. For a bronze medal, Hafizov will take on Emilio Perez Alonzo from Mexico, 2015 Junior Pan Am champion.

The medal matches are set for Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. CT live on ESPN3. Only mat A is being streamed live, so follow @USAWrestling on Twitter for live updates.

at Lima, Peru, Aug. 7-11

U.S. Greco-Roman results
60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP)
LOSS Ditcher Toro Castenada (Colombia), 8-3
vs. Emilio Perez Alonzo (Mexico)

67 kg: Ellis Coleman (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP)
WIN Joilson De Brito Ramos Junior (Brazil), fall 4:52
LOSS Ismael Borrero Molina (Cuba), 8-0
vs. Luis De Leon (Dominican Republic)

77 kg: Pat Smith (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm)
WIN Jair Cuero Munoz (Colombia), 4-1
WIN Emmaunel Benitez Castro (Mexico), 5-1
vs. Wuilexis Rivas Espinoza (Venezuela)

87 kg: Joe Rau (Chicago, Ill./Titan Mercury WC/Chicago RTC)
WIN Ricardo Cardenas Esquen (Peru), 5-3
LOSS Luis Avendano Rojas (Venezuela), 8-0
vs. Daniel Gregorich Hechavarria (Cuba)

97 kg: G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
WIN Thomas Barreiro (Canada), 9-0
WIN Kevin Mejia (Honduras), 10-0
vs. Gabriel Rosillo Kindelan (Cuba)