The United States is sending 14 athletes across all three styles to the Pan-American Olympic Qualifier in Ottawa, Canada, March 13-15. All 14 athletes must finish in the top-two of their respective weight classes in order to qualify the weight for the USA to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in August.
The Pan-American Olympic Qualifier is a separate event from the Pan-American Championships, which are set for March 6-8 in Ottawa. The Championships feature all 30 Worlds weights, while only the 18 Olympic weights will be contested at the Olympic Qualifier.
Pan-Am nations may only enter athletes at weights that they have not yet qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
The USA has already qualified four weights—74 kg MFS, 97 MFS, 68 kg WFS, 76 kg WFS—based on medal-winning performances at the 2019 World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Any weight that the USA does not qualify in Ottawa will have one more chance April 30-May 3 at the World Olympic Games Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Heading to Canada for the Red, White and Blue in men’s freestyle are 2019 World Team members Daton Fix at 57 kg, Zain Retherford at 65 kg and Nick Gwiazdowski at 125 kg as well as 2018 World champion David Taylor.
The men’s freestyle representatives were selected based on the USA Wrestling procedures set earlier this year.
Taylor, the 2018 World champion at 86 kg, will return to competition after taking most of 2019 off due to injury. Taylor is a two-time Pan-American champion, claiming golds in 2018 and 2019.
Two-time World bronze medalist Gwiazdowski seeks to earn his fourth Pan-Am gold medal. He won the 2018 and 2019 Championships and nabbed the title at the 2019 Pan-Am Games.
Two-time Senior World Team member and 2012 Cadet World champion Retherford will make his debut in Pan-American competition in March.
Fix, a 2017 Junior World champion, returns to Senior Pan-Am competition after winning gold at the 2019 Pan-American Games last August.
Representing the women’s freestyle squad is 2018 World silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt at 50 kg, 2019 World champion Jacarra Winchester at 53 kg, 2016 Olympic champion and three-time World champion Helen Maroulis at 57 kg and 2019 U23 World silver medalist and Senior World Team member Kayla Miracle at 62 kg.
The women’s freestyle representatives were selected based on the USA Wrestling procedures set earlier this year. The special wrestle-offs took place in early-February with Hildebrandt, Winchester and Maroulis winning their respective weights. Miracle was not challenged for her spot.
Maroulis, the first female wrestler to win an Olympic gold for the USA, is back in action and will compete in her first international event since 2018 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Next month will mark the three-time World champ’s first Pan-Am appearance since 2012, when she won gold.
One of the USA’s newest World champions, Winchester has made the move down from 55 kg, a non-Olympic weight, to 53 kg for the 2020 season. She seeks to improve upon her third-place finish from the 2019 Pan-Am Championships.
2018 World silver medalist Hildebrandt also moved down in weight from 53 kg to 50 kg. In Ottawa, Hildebrandt will make her sixth Pan-Am competition appearance and aims to claim her sixth-straight Pan-Am gold medal.
Competing at 62 kg is 2019 U23 World runner-up, Senior World Team member and 2019 Pan-Am Games champion Miracle. This will mark her fourth time at a Senior Pan Am event.
Competing for the U.S. in Greco-Roman are 2019 World Team members Ildar Hafizov at 60 kg, Ellis Coleman at 67 kg, Pat Smith at 77 kg, Joe Rau at 87 kg, G’Angelo Hancock at 97 kg and Adam Coon at 130 kg. The Greco squad needs to qualify all six Olympic weights.
The Greco-Roman representatives were selected based on the USA Wrestling procedures set earlier this year.
Coon won a silver medal in his Senior World debut in 2018. Since then, he earned a bid to the 2019 World Championships and also picked up a gold medal at the Pan-Am Championships last April.
2019 Pan-Am Games champion and three-time Pan-Am Championships gold medalist Pat Smith looks to qualify the USA at 77 kg.
2016 Junior World bronze winner Hancock heads to his fourth Pan-Am event and seeks to top the podium for the first time. He owns silver medals from the 2019 Pan-Am Games and Pan-Am Championships as well as a bronze from the 2017 Championships.
Like Hancock, multiple-time Junior World bronze medalist Ellis Coleman aims for his first Pan-Am gold medal in Ottawa. Coleman was third at the 2019 Pan-Am Games and owns three other top-three finishes at the Pan-Am Championships.
2019 World Military bronze medalist Hafizov heads to his second Pan-Am event. Last year, he claimed bronze at the Pan-Am Games in Peru.
Two-time World Team member Joe Rau will compete in his third continental event, winning gold at the 2015 Pan-Am Championships and finishing fifth at the 2019 Pan-Am Games.
The Pan-American Championships rosters for the USA will be released at a later date.
PAN-AMERICAN OLYMPIC QUALIFIER
at Ottawa, Canada (March 13-15, 2020)
Men’s freestyle roster
57 kg: Daton Fix (Stillwater, Okla./Titan Mercury WC)
65 kg: Zain Retherford (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC)
86 kg: David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC)
125 kg: Nick Gwiazdowski (Raleigh, N.C./Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack WC)
Women’s freestyle roster
50 kg: Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC/USOPTC)
53 kg: Jacarra Winchester (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC/USOPTC)
57 kg: Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./Sunkist Kids)
62 kg: Kayla Miracle (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids)
60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP)
67 kg: Ellis Coleman (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP)
77 kg: Pat Smith (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm)
87 kg: Joe Rau (Chicago, Ill./Chicago RTC)
97 kg: G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
130 kg: Adam Coon (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC/Cliff Keen WC)
Schedule (EST time)
Friday, March 13
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds and repechage (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)
5 p.m. – Finals (GR 60-67-77-87-97-130 kg)
Saturday, March 14
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds and repechage (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)
5 p.m. – Finals (WFS 50-53-57-62-68-76 kg)
Sunday, March 15
10:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds and repechage (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)
5 p.m. – Finals (MFS 57-65-74-86-97-125 kg)