by Richard Immell, USA Wrestling
SALVADOR DA BAHIA, Brazil – Following a three-champion performance from the U.S. Greco-Roman team early Saturday morning, the American women picked up three gold medals of their own at the Pan American Championships.
Making their way to the top of the podium at the Pan American Judo Center on Saturday night were current U.S. World Team members Victoria Anthony (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., Becka Leathers (Choctaw, Okla./Titan Mercury WC) at 55 kg/121 lbs. and Alli Ragan (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 60 kg/132 lbs.
The reigning World silver medalist at 60 kg, Ragan torched her four-athlete round-robin bracket, picking up two technical falls and a pin to claim gold. Finishing in second place at 60 kg behind Ragan was Nesmarie Rodriguez Tirado of Puerto Rico, who Ragan beat 12-2.
“I tried to really get to my offense, and my ties too, to control them, and go from there,” Ragan said. “Everything that I have been doing is a step towards the right direction, so I’ve just got to keep it rolling, and get ready, and get my body ready for the World Championships in August.”
The always-electric Anthony blasted through the 48 kg bracket with a barrage of inside trip attacks and powerful top work. She won all three of her matches by technical fall, outscoring her opponents by a combined 32-2 margin. Anthony defeated Peru’s Thalia Jihann Mallqui Peche in the championship match, 12-2.
“It’s so important to get off the mat quick, and just finish the match. If I got a takedown I don’t need to get back on my feet and get anymore. I can finish it on top, and I think more than anything I’ve learned that your par terre is a mindset, which I’ve heard for years, but now that I’m finally getting in, then I understand that,” Anthony said.
Leathers, a newcomer on the Senior-level stage, gritted out four wins in a five-athlete round-robin to earn her first Senior Pan American title. In her final round-robin match, Leathers edged Canada’s Brianne Barry on criteria, 4-4, in what was her closest match of the tournament.
“Honestly felt a little of my game. Obviously peaked for World Team Trials and didn’t think I’d be coming here, but I was excited to wrestle. I’m always excited to wrestle. It’s fun for me. I went out there, started off a little slow, but I think it was a really good learning tournament for me,” Leathers said.
Two-time Junior World bronze medalist Kayla Miracle (Campbellsville, Ky./Sunkist Kids) and 2016 Dave Schultz Memorial International silver medalist Forrest Molinari (Benicia, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) brought home bronze medals at 58 kg/128 lbs. and 69 kg/152 lbs., respectively.
Miracle was dominant in her first match against Brazil’s Brenda Oliveria Palheta, winning 11-0. She was turned away in the semifinals by Grand Prix of Paris champion and Olympian Michelle Fazzari, 6-1. With only three women on her side of the bracket, Miracle was awarded the bronze medal following her semifinal.
It was a similar situation for Molinari, who picked up a pin over Mexico’s Virginia Fernandez Salazar to open. She was defeated in her semifinal by Canada’s Olivia Di Bacco, 12-3, and was automatically awarded the bronze medal.
World Team member Mallory Velte (Sacramento, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) opened her tournament with a bang, downing two-time Olympic bronze medalist Jacqueline Renteria Castillo of Colombia, 4-2. She went on to drop her next two matches to finish in fifth place at 63 kg/152 lbs.
The U.S. picked up a fourth-place finish at 75 kg/165 lbs. from World Team member Victoria Francis (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC). Francis posted a 1-3 record in a five-athlete round-robin bracket.
Olympian and World Team member Haley Augello (Lockport, Ill./New York AC) injury defaulted out of her only match of the day at 53 kg/116.5 lbs.
Complete brackets, match-by-match results and archived matches from the Pan American Championships can be found on Trackwrestling.com.
PAN AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, May 5-7
48 kg/105.5 lbs.
Gold – Victoria Anthony (United States)
Silver – Thalia Jihann Mallqui Peche (Peru)
Bronze – Patricia Alejandra Bermudez (Argentina)
Bronze – Caroline Soares Melo (Brazil)
53 kg/116.5 lbs.
Gold – Jessica MacDonald (Canada)
Silver – Carolina Castillo Hidalgo (Colombia)
Bronze – Laura Gabriela Peredo Torres (Mexico)
Bronze – Luisa Elizabeth Valverde Melendres (Ecuador)
55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold – Becka Leathers (United States)
Silver – Brianne Barry (Canada)
Bronze – Andribeth Rivera Belliard (Puerto Rico)
58 kg/128 lbs.
Gold – Michelle Fazzari (Canada)
Silver – Yessica Coraima Oviedo Perez (Dominican Republic)
Bronze – Anguis Del Carmen Rivas Gonzalez (Venezuela)
Bronze – Kayla Miracle (United States)
60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold – Alli Ragan (United States)
Silver – Nesmarie Rodriguez Tirado (Puerto Rico)
Bronze – Laurence Beauregard (Canada)
63 kg/152 lbs.
Gold – Braxton Stone (Canada)
Silver – Yanet Ursula Sovero Nino (Peru)
Bronze – Nathaly Josefina Griman Herrera (Venezuela)
Bronze – Yaquelin Estornell Elizastigue (Cuba)
69 kg/152 lbs.
Gold – Olivia Di Bacco (Canada)
Silver – Dailane Gomes Dos Reis (Brazil)
Bronze – Maria Jose Acosta (Venezuela)
Bronze – Forrest Molinari (United States)
75 kg/165 lbs.
Gold – Justina DiStasio (Canada)
Silver – Aline Da Silva Ferreira (Brazil)
Bronze – Andrea Carolina Olaya Gutierrez (Colombia)
U.S. Women’s Freestyle Results
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Victoria Anthony, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids), Gold
WIN Caroline Soares Melo (Brazil), 10-0
WIN Dubraika Alessa Rodriguez Criollo (Venezuela), 10-0
WIN Thalia Jihann Mallqui Peche (Peru), 12-2
53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Haley Augello, Lockport, Ill. (New York AC)
LOSS Laura Peredo Torres (Mexico), Inj. Def.
55 kg/121 lbs. – Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC), Gold
WIN Andribeth Rivera Belliard (Puerto Rico), Fall
WIN Brenda Fernandez Salazar (Mexico), 10-2
WIN Mayara Amalia Graciano (Brazil), 10-0
WIN Brianne Barry (Canada), 4-4
58 kg/128 lbs. – Kayla Miracle, Campbellsville, Ky. (Sunkist Kids), Bronze
WIN Brenda Oliveria Palheta (Brazil), 11-0
LOSS Michelle Fazzari (Canada), 6-1
60 kg/132 lbs. – Alli Ragan, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), Gold
WIN Laurence Beauregard (Canada), 10-0
WIN Andria Pimentel de Souza (Brazil), Fall
WIN Nesmarie Rodriguez Tirado (Puerto Rico), 12-2
63 kg/152 lbs. – Mallory Velte, Sacramento, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC), 5th
WIN Jacqueline Renteria Castillo (Colombia), 4-2
LOSS Braxton Stone (Canada), 8-0
LOSS Nathaly Griman Herrera (Venezuela), 6-6
69 kg/152 lbs. – Forrest Molinari, Benicia, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC), Bronze
WIN Virginia Fernandez Salazar (Mexico), Fall
LOSS Olivia Di Bacco (Canada), 12-3
75 kg/165 lbs. – Victoria Francis, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC), 4th
LOSS Andrea Olaya Gutierrez (Colombia), 8-4
WIN Soleymi Caraballo Hernandez (Venezuela), Fall
LOSS Justina DiStasio (Canada), 5-1
LOSS Aline da Silva Ferreira (Brazil), 10-0