by Richard Immell, USA Wrestling.
SALVADOR DA BAHIA, Brazil – After a wild two days of action in Brazil, the U.S. Greco-Roman team hoisted five individual medals, three of which were gold, at the Pan American Championships held at the Pan American Judo Center.
Securing gold medals for the U.S. were current World Team members Pat Smith (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 71 kg/156 lbs., Cheney Haight (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 80 kg/176 lbs. and Ben Provisor (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 85 kg/187 lbs.
Provisor, a two-time U.S. Olympic Team member, was impressive throughout the day. He opened with highlight reel technical fall wins over Jose Antonio Moreno Bustos of Chile and Carlos Andres Munoz Jaramillo of Colombia.
In the 85 kg championship match, Provisor powered through 2017 Cerro Pelado International champion Daniel Gregorich Hechavarria, 2-2. Provisor scored the only takedown of the bout, swaying the match criteria in his favor.
“I’ve been trying to open up and score more, not just be the normal pummel in and pushing people…I’m happy to get a gold medal here and I’m excited to go home and take a little break,” Provisor said.
Provisor competed at the previous two Olympic Games held in London, England and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He qualified for his first Senior-level U.S. World Team last weekend in Las Vegas.
Smith and Haight posted similar outings on the way to gold. Both men won two matches on the day by technical fall, all the while surrendering zero points to their opponents.
To claim the 71 kg title, Smith dispatched Luis Alfredo De Leon of Dominican Republic, 8-0. All it took was one Smith takedown, followed by a series of gut wrenches to seal the victory.
“It was a good test, facing a little bit of adversity, just staying focused and relaxing even when things don’t totally go how you expect them to,” Smith said. “I felt like I wrestled pretty well today. Just stuck to my game plan and things worked out pretty well.”
It was a similar story for Haight in the 80 kg finals. The two-time U.S. World Team member exploded early with a four-point arm throw to jump on top of his finals opponent, Johan Antonio Batista of Dominican Republic. Haight iced an 8-0 first-period technical fall with a takedown and turn.
“It was a small bracket today. I only had two matches, but I went out and scored. I was looking for points early because it was just sweaty out there…I thought it came out pretty good,” Haight said.
Olympian Robby Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) and Junior World bronze medalist G’Angelo Hancock (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) both fell to opponents from Cuba before coming back to take bronze.
Smith was upended by two points in his 130 kg/286 lbs. opener by defending Pan American champion Oscar Pino Hinds of Cuba. Similarly, Hancock went toe-to-toe with Olympic silver medalist Yasmany Daniel Lugo Cabrera of Cuba, but came up just short in the 98 kg/215.5 lbs. semifinals. Both men won by technical fall in their bronze medal match.
It was an up-and-down day for Ryan Mango (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP), who posted a 1-2 record on his way to fifth place at 59 kg/130 lbs.
Competing up in weight at 66 kg/145 lbs., U.S. World Team Trials runner-up Hayden Tuma (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army WCAP) dropped his only match of the competition, 8-0, to Gorge Nickford Gonzales Batis of Honduras.
U.S. World Team Trials runner-up Kamal Bey (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) injury defaulted to Carlos Alberto Adames Palmer of Dominican Republic in his only bout at 75 kg/165 lbs.
Originally scheduled to take place on Friday, the Greco-Roman tournament was pushed to a Saturday, 7 a.m. start time due to the host arena catching fire. After it was determined safe, the tournament was run from start to finish this morning.
Women’s freestyle is set to begin its tournament at 2 p.m. local time/1 p.m. (ET) this afternoon.
United World Wrestling will provide a live stream of the event and complete results to those residing in the U.S. through Trackwrestling.com.
2017 PAN AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, May 5-7
59 kg/130 lbs.
Gold – Andres Roberto Montano Arroya (Ecuador)
Silver – Jancel Miguel Pimentel Gonzalez (Dominican Republic)
Bronze – Dicther Hans Toro Castaneda (Colombia)
Bronze – Jose Luis Magallanes Durand (Peru)
66 kg/145 lbs.
Gold – Miguel Martinez Palacio (Cuba)
Silver – Joilson De Brito Ramos (Brazil)
Bronze – Wuileixis de Jesus Rivas Espinoza (Venezuela)
Bronze – Jose Jelmar Sanchez Betancourt (Ecuador)
71 kg/156 lbs.
Gold – Pat Smith (United States)
Silver – Luis Alfredo De Leon (Dominican Republic)
Bronze – Francisco Albano Barrio (Argentina)
75 kg/165 lbs.
Gold – Yurisandy Hernandez Rios (Cuba)
Silver – Juan Angel Escobar (Mexico)
Bronze – Luis Eduardo Avendano Rojas (Venezuela)
Bronze – Angelo Rafael Marques Moreira (Brazil)
80 kg/176 lbs.
Gold – Cheney Haight (United States)
Silver – Johan Antonio Batista (Dominican Republic)
Bronze – Daniel Vicente Gomez (Mexico)
85 kg/187 lbs.
Gold – Ben Provisor (United States)
Silver – Daniel Gregorich Hechavarria (Cuba)
Bronze – Carlos Andres Munoz Jaramillo (Colombia)
Bronze – Alfonso Antonio Leyva Yepez (Mexico)
98 kg/215.5 lbs.
Gold – Yasmany Daniel Lugo Cabrera (Cuba)
Silver – Luillys Jose Perez Mora (Venezuela)
Bronze – Davi Jose Albino (Brazil)
Bronze – G’Angelo Hancock (United States)
130 kg/286 lbs.
Gold – Oscar Pino Hinds (Cuba)
Silver – Yasmani Acosta Fernandez (Chile)
Bronze – Robby Smith (United States)
Bronze – Erwin Jose Caraballo Cabrera (Venezuela)
U.S. Greco-Roman Results
59 kg/130 lbs. – Ryan Mango, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP), 5th
LOSS Andres Roberto Montano Arroya (Ecuador), 6-4
WIN Cristobal Alonso Torres Nunez (Chile), 9-0
LOSS Dicther Hans Toro Castaneda (Colombia), 10-8
66 kg/145 lbs. – Hayden Tuma, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
LOSS Gorge Nickford Gonzales Batis (Honduras), 8-0
71 kg/156 lbs. – Pat Smith, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), Gold
WIN Fernando Vicente Gomez (Mexico), 8-0
WIN Luis Alfredo De Leon (Dominican Republic), 9-0
75 kg/165 lbs. – Kamal Bey, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
LOSS Carlos Alberto Adames Palmer (Dominican Republic), Inj. Def.
80 kg/176 lbs. – Cheney Haight, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), Gold
WIN Enrique Javier Cuero Ortiz (Ecuador), 8-0
WIN Johan Antonio Batista (Dominican Republic), 8-0
85 kg/187 lbs. – Ben Provisor, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), Gold
WIN Jose Antonio Moreno Bustos (Chile), 11-0
WIN Carlos Andres Munoz Jaramillo (Colombia), 8-0
WIN Daniel Gregorich Hechavarria (Cuba), 2-2
98 kg/215.5 lbs. – G’Angelo Hancock, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), Bronze
WIN Kevin Mejia Castillo (Honduras), 5-0
LOSS Yasmany Daniel Lugo Cabrera (Cuba), 5-3
WIN Thomas Barreiro (Canada), 8-0
130 kg/286 lbs. – Robby Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), Bronze
LOSS Oscar Pino Hinds (Cuba), 4-2
WIN Josue Malaquia Encarnacion Ovando (Dominican Republic), 9-0