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Multiple World and Olympic champions to compete at Pan American Olympic Qualifier

By Taylor Miller, United World Wrestling | March 11, 2020, 10:26 a.m. (ET)

The 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier is set for this March 13-15 in Ottawa, Canada. The event serves as a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the top-two from each bracket will earn a bid for their country at the respective weight.

The Pan Am Olympic Qualifier is the second of three qualifying phases. The first was the 2019 World Championships, where the top-six from each Olympic weight qualified for Tokyo. The final event is the World Olympic Qualifier in Sofia, Bulgaria, scheduled for later this year.

Action begins on Friday with all six Greco-Roman weights, followed by women’s freestyle on Saturday and wrapping up with men’s freestyle on Sunday. Fans can watch the action live exclusively on Trackwrestling.com in the United States.

Men’s freestyle

Qualified: Colombia (86 kg), United States (74 kg, 97 kg)

57 kg
Highlighting this weight class is 2017 and 2019 U23 World champion Reineri ANDREU ORTEGA (CUB), who won the Pan American Championships last week in Ottawa.

Also in the mix is 2017 World silver medalist Thomas GILMAN (USA) and 2020 Pan Am bronze medalist Juan RAMIREZ BELTRE (DOM).

65 kg

Leading this weight class is 2017 and 2018 World bronze medalist Alejandro VALDES TOBIER (CUB), who is also a 2019 Pan American Games champion.

Three of last week’s medalists will compete this weekend, including silver medalist Mauricio Javier SANCHEZ SALTOS (ECU) and bronze medalists Agustin Alejandro DESTRIBATS (ARG) and Sixto Miguel AUCCAPINA PEDRAGAS (PER).

The 2020 Pan Am champion John Michael DIAKOMIHALIS (USA) is not registered for the Pan American Olympic Qualifier. Instead, it will be 2012 Cadet World champion Zain RETHERFORD (USA).

74 kg
There are two past World medalists registered at 74 kg, Jeandry GARZON CABALLERO (CUB) and Franklin GOMEZ MATOS (PUR).

Garzon is a 2007 World silver runner-up and three-time World bronze winner (2005, 2006, 2010), while Gomez won silver at the 2011 World Championships.

Last week, Gomez was the Pan Am runner-up, and Garzon finished with bronze. Both lost to Jordan BURROUGHS (USA), who qualified the United States at 74 kg with a bronze-medal finish at the 2019 World Championships.

Also wrestling this week is Anthony Jose MONTERO CHIRINOS (VEN), who won 2020 Pan American bronze.

86 kg
2018 World champion David TAYLOR (USA) returns to competition for the first time since his title run at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Joining him at the weight are 2020 Pan American champions Yurieski TORREBLANCA QUERALTA (CUB) and Angus Patrick ARTHUR (JAM). Torreblanca won at 86 kg, and Arthur became the first Jamaican to claim Pan Am gold, winning the 92 kg bracket last week.

Other medalists from the Pan Am Championships that will compete are silver medalist Pool Edinson AMBROCIO GREIFO (PER) and Clayton Steven PYE (CAN).

Already qualified at this weight for the Olympic Games is Carlos IZQUIERDO MENDEZ (COL) after taking fifth at the 2019 Worlds.

97 kg
The favorite at this weight is two-time World silver medalist and 2010 World bronze winner Reineris SALAS PEREZ (CUB). Last week, he fell in the 2020 Pan Am finals Kyle SNYDER (USA), who already qualified the United States for the Olympics with a bronze medal at 2019 Worlds.

Pan Am runner-up at 92 kg Maxwell Lemar LACEY GARITA (CRC) will bump up to 97 kg this week in attempt to qualify Costa Rica for the Games for the first time in the nation’s history.

Also competing is 2020 Pan Am bronze medalist Luis Miguel PEREZ SOSA (DOM).

125 kg
Nick GWIAZDOWSKI (USA) heads into the heavyweight bracket with the most freestyle success, owning 2017 and 2018 World bronze medals as well as the 2019 Pan Am Games title.

However, looking to dethrone him is three-time World medalist in Greco-Roman Oscar PINO HINDS (CUB), who won silver at the 2019 Worlds and bronzes in 2017 and 2018.

Because of his silver medal in Kazakhstan, Pino qualified Cuba for the 130 kg weight in Greco for the Olympics. This weekend, he looks to qualify another weight for Cuba, taking on freestyle this season. Last week, he won bronze at the Pan Am Championships.

2020 Pan Am silver medalist Amarveer DHESI (CAN) is also expected to compete at the weight. Dhesi is a 2014 Junior World champion.

Women’s freestyle
Qualified: United States (68 kg, 76 kg)

50 kg
This weight features World champion Jessica Anne Marie MACDONALD (CAN), who also owns bronze medals from the 2011 and 2013 World Championships.

Looking to shake up the bracket is 2018 World runner-up at 53 kg Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA), who is making the transition down to 50 kg for the Olympic year. Hildebrandt was the 2019 Pan Am Games champion and holds four Pan Am Championships gold medals.

There are three medalists from last week that are entered, including silver medalist Carolina CASTILLO HIDALGO (COL) and bronze medalists Kamila BARBOSA VITO DA SILVA (BRA) and Jacqueline Del Rocio MOLLOCANA ELENO (ECU).

Additionally, 2019 Pan American Championships winner and 2019 Pan Am Games silver medalist Yusneylis GUZMAN LOPEZ (CUB) will compete.

53 kg
The 2019 World champion at 55 kg, Jacarra WINCHESTER (USA), is also moving down a weight class and is registered at 53 kg.

She’ll be met with other talents like past Pan Am medalists Samantha Leigh STEWART (CAN), Lianna de la Caridad MONTERO HERRERA (CUB) and Luisa Elizabeth VALVERDE MELENDRES (ECU).

Stewart is a 2016 Pan American champion. This weekend will mark her first continental event since she won her title.

2019 Pan Am Games bronze medalist Montero enters the bracket fresh off a silver-medal finish at the 2020 Pan Am Championships.

Winning the 2020 title was Valverde, who is also a 2011 Cadet World bronze medalist.

57 kg
Highlighting this weight is 2016 Olympic champion Helen MAROULIS (USA), who is competing in her first Pan Am event since 2012. Maroulis is also a 2015 and 2017 World champion. She took the 2019 season off, and is back for the Olympic year.

Reigning World champion and 2016 World bronze medalist Linda MORAIS (CAN) is also in the mix as well as 2019 Pan Am Games champion Lissette Alexandra ANTES CASTILLO (ECU) and 2020 Pan Am bronze medalist Betzabeth Rebeca SARCO COLMENAREZ (VEN).

62 kg
Leading the way in international credentials is two-time Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 World bronze winner Jackeline RENTERIA CASTILLO (COL). Last week, Renteria was seventh at the 2020 Pan Am Championships.

Another World medalist set to compete is 2017 bronze winner Michelle Christina FAZZARI (CAN).

2019 Pan American Games champion Kayla MIRACLE (USA) will represent the United States, rather than the 2020 Pan Am winner Mallory VELTE.

68 kg
There are a pair of World medalists entered at 68 kg, including Danielle Suzanne LAPPAGE (CAN) and Yudari SANCHEZ RODRIGUEZ (CUB).

Lappage is a 2018 Senior World silver medalist. This week marks her first Senior Pan American event as she seeks to qualify her country for Tokyo.

Fresh off a silver-medal finish performance, Sanchez goes into the weekend with three age-group World medals: 2018 U23 gold, 2017 Junior silver and 2017 U23 bronze.

Also at this weight is 2020 Pan Am champion Yanet Ursula SOVERO NINO (PER) and 2020 Pan Am bronze winner Maria Jose ACOSTA ACOSTA (VEN).

The United States is already qualified at this weight, thanks to a Tamyra MENSAH-STOCK, who won gold at the 2019 Worlds.

76 kg
Another Olympic champion in the women’s field comes at 76 kg, where Erica WIEBE (CAN) is slated to compete this weekend. The Canadian is also a 2018 World bronze medalist.

An up-and-coming talent hitting the mat this week is 2019 Junior and U23 World champion Milaimys de la Caridad MARIN POTRILLE (CUB), who had a strong effort in a loaded Pan Am Championships bracket and finished fifth last week.

Marin fell in the bronze-medal match to 2014 World silver medalist Aline DA SILVA FERREIRA (BRA), who will also compete in Ottawa this week.

2020 Pan Am bronze medalist Andrea Carolina OLAYA GUTIERREZ (COL) is also registered.

The United States also earned a bid to Tokyo at 76 kg, when Adeline GRAY claimed gold at the 2019 World Championships. It was her fifth World title.

Qualified: Cuba (67 kg, 130 kg)

60 kg
There are multiple Pan American champions that will compete for a qualification spot at 60 kg, including 2020 champion Dicther Hans TORO CASTANEDA (COL), 2019 champion Luis Alberto ORTA SANCHEZ (CUB) and 2015 and 2019 Pan Am Games champion Andres Roberto MONTANO ARROYO (ECU).

Also competing is 2019 Pan Am Games bronze medalist Ildar HAFIZOV (USA) and 2020 bronze medalists Jancel Miguel PIMENTEL GONZALEZ (DOM) and Emerson Isaias FELIPE ORDONEZ (GUA).

67 kg

There are three 2020 Pan American Championships medalists returning to competition this weekend.

Joilson DE BRITO RAMOS JUNIOR (BRA) won silver at 72 kg last weekend and will move down to 67 kg this weekend.

Cristhian Alberto RIVAS CASTRO (ECU) and Alejandro SANCHO (USA), who each won bronze at the championships are scheduled to compete in the Olympic Qualifier.

The 2020 Pan Am champ Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) will not compete as he already qualified Cuba for Tokyo after winning gold at the 2019 Worlds. Borrero is a 2016 Olympic champion and also won the 2015 World title.

77 kg
Yosvanys PENA FLORES (CUB) and Patrick SMITH (USA) traded wins at the 2020 Pan American Championships, with Smith winning the matchup in pool action and Pena ultimately claiming the title over Smith in the finals.

Pena also won the 2019 Pan American Championships, and later that year, Smith emerged with gold at the 20019 Pan American Games.

Both will wrestle again this weekend.

Also expected to compete is 2020 Pan Am bronze medalist Wuileixis de Jesus RIVAS ESPINOZA (VEN), who is a 2019 Pan Am Games runner-up.

87 kg
Bringing World medals to the weight is Daniel GREGORICH HECHAVARRIA (CUB), who is a 2018 U23 silver medalist and 2019 U23 bronze winner. Last week, he finished fifth at the Pan Am Championships, forfeiting in the bronze match.

Winning the 2020 Pan Am title was Josef RAU (USA. En route to his win last week, Rau defeated 2019 Pan Am Games champion Luis Eduardo AVENDANO ROJAS (VEN), who will also wrestle in the Qualifier.

Two other 2020 Pan Am medalists will compete, including silver medalist Carlos Andres MUNOZ JARAMILLO (COL) and bronze medalist Lesyan Osvaldo COUSIN OTOMURO (JAM).

97 kg
We will likely see another entertaining rivalry at 97 kg as the 2020 Pan Am champion G’Angelo HANCOCK (USA) and 2020 runner-up Gabriel Alejandro ROSILLO KINDELAN (CUB) will be back at it this weekend.

Similar to Pena and Smith at 77 kg, Hancock and Rosillo went head-to-head twice in the Pan Am Championships, with Rosillo winning in the pool action but Hancock getting the victory in the finals.

Both own age-group World medals with Rosillo claiming gold at the 2019 Junior Worlds and Hancock owning bronze from the 2016 Junior Worlds.

Another World medalist in the mix is Kevin MEJIA CASTILLO (HON), who finished fourth at the Pan Am Championships. Defeating Mejia in the bronze match was Luillys Jose PEREZ MORA (VEN), who is also registered for this weekend.

130 kg
Two World medalists highlight the field in Yasmani ACOSTA FERNANDEZ (CHI) and Adam COON (USA).

Acosta won bronze at the 2017 World Championships, and Coon earned silver in the 2018 Worlds.

The American is fresh off producing a silver medal at the 2020 Pan Ams, while Acosta entered the event but did not compete.

Both 2020 Pan Am bronze winners are registered: Leo Dalis SANTANA HEREDIA (DOM) and Moises Salvador PEREZ HELLBURG (VEN).

Cuba is already qualified at the weight, thanks to a silver medal from Oscar PINO HINDS at the 2019 World Championships. This weekend, Pino will compete in freestyle in attempt to qualify Cuba for the Olympic Games at 125 kg.