Team USA Pan Am Preview

BY TAYLOR MILLER, USA WRESTLING | JUNE 27, 2019, 11:58 A.M. (ET)

The United States will send 18 excitingly talented wrestlers to the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, Aug. 7-10. The Pan Am Games differ from the Pan Am Championships as the Games feature the 18 Olympic weights across all three styles and are contested only once every four years.

Making up the squad are the members of the 2019 U.S. Senior World Team at the Olympic weights. Among them are seven wrestlers that combine for 22 Senior World medals.

Greco-Roman action kicks off the wrestling portion of the Games on Aug. 7-8, followed by women’s freestyle Aug. 8-9 and ending with men’s freestyle Aug. 9-10.

All Pan American Games roster nominations are pending final approval of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

Greco-Roman (Aug. 7-8)

Leading the squad is 2018 Senior World silver medalist Adam Coon at 130 kg.

Since winning his first World medal on the Senior-level, Coon claimed top prize at the 2019 Pan Am Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in April. In mid- June, Coon made his second-straight World Team, defeating 2017 Cadet World champion and 2018 Junior World bronze medalist Cohlton Schultz at Final X: Lincoln.

Coon also owns a 2011 Cadet World gold medal in freestyle and a pair of 2014 Junior World bronze medals in Greco and freestyle.

There are three other Greco athletes with age-group World medals: Ellis Coleman, Pat Smith and G’Angelo Hancock.

Coleman, who will compete at 67 kg, is a two-time Junior World bronze medalist. Additionally, he has represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic Games as well as three Senior Worlds. In June, he made his fourth Senior World team.

Smith, wrestling at 77 kg, was a 2014 University World silver medalist. He recently earned his way on his second Senior World Team, taking out 2017 Junior World champion and returning Senior World Team member Kamal Bey in Final X: Rutgers.

Competing at 97 kg, Hancock is a 2016 Junior World bronze medalist. At only 21 years old, he snagged a spot on his third-consecutive Senior World Team. Overall, he’s been on two Junior World Teams, three U23 World Teams and three Senior World Teams.

Completing the squad are Ildar Hafizov at 60 kg and Joe Rau at 87 kg.

Hafizov began competing for the United States in 2016 after transitioning from Uzbekistan, where he was a 2008 Olympian and three-time World Team member. Since becoming a U.S. citizen, Hafizov has made two World Teams, including the 2019 squad.

Similarly, Rau just made his second World Team and first since 2014. He owns multiple international medals, including a gold from the 2015 Pan American Championships.

Women’s freestyle (Aug. 8-9)

The women’s freestyle team features several World medalists as it will be represented by four-time World champion Adeline Gray at 76 kg, 2018 World silver medalist Sarah Hildebrandt at 53 kg and 2018 World bronze medalist Tamyra Mensah-Stock at 68 kg.

A 2015 Pan Am Games champion, Gray seeks to make history this fall as she aims to become the first wrestler in U.S. history to win five World titles.

Hildebrandt continues to make huge strides, showing that at Final X: Lincoln, where she defeated an experienced Katherine Shai in two matches for the World Team spot at 53 kg.

Mensah-Stock has been on a roll, taking first at every UWW Ranking Series she’s competed at this season. In January, she became the first American in any style to win three-consecutive Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix titles.

Representing at 62 kg is World medalist Kayla Miracle, who has been on eight age-group World Teams, dating back to 2011. She is a 2012 Cadet World silver medalist and a two-time Junior World bronze medalist.

Miracle made her first Senior team earlier this month, knocking off 2018 World bronze medalist Mallory Velte in two matches at Final X: Lincoln.

Rounding out the squad are Army WCAP teammates Whitney Conder at 50 kg and Jenna Burkert at 57 kg.

A five-time Senior World Team member, Conder is a 2007 Junior World champion and a 2014 World Military Championships silver medalist. She heads to her second Pan Am Games, after winning gold in 2015.

This fall, Burkert will compete in her second-straight and third overall Senior Worlds after dominating for the World Team spot, defeating 2017 World bronze medalist Becka Leathers at Final X: Rutgers. The Games in Lima marks Burkert’s first Pan Am competition at the Senior level.

Men’s freestyle (Aug. 9-10)

World and Olympic champions Jordan Burroughs and Kyle Snyder lead the men’s freestyle squad into the Pan Am Games.

Burroughs is a four-time World champion and a 2012 Olympic gold medalist as well as a two-time Pan Am Games champ, winning in 2011 and 2015. In his most recent Worlds outing, Burroughs won a Senior World bronze at 74 kg, besting 2017 World champion Frank Chamizo of Italy in the third-place match.

Overall, Burroughs has six World medals: four gold and two bronze.

Snyder, a 2015 Pan Am Games champion, is a 2016 Olympic gold medalist and two-time World champ. Last year, he won his fourth-straight World/Olympic medal, claiming silver at 97 kg in Budapest, Hungary.

As an age-group athlete, Snyder is a 2013 Junior World champion and a 2014 Junior World bronze medalist.

Two-time World bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski is on the card at 125 kg. Gwiazdowski exploded onto the scene in 2017 and has owned the heavyweight spot since then. While he hasn’t been to a Pan Am Games, Gwiazdowski owns golds from the 2018 and 2019 Pan Am Championships.

2017 World Team member Zain Retherford made his way back onto the 2019 Senior World Team after taking the 2018 season off. Retherford is a 2012 Cadet World champion. This will be his first Pan Am event.

Recently earning spots on their first Senior World Teams, Daton Fix (57 kg) and Pat Downey (86 kg) will make the trip to represent the Red, White and Blue.

Fix is a 2017 Junior World champion with two Junior World bronzes as well as a Cadet World bronze and Youth Olympic Games silver. To capture the World Team spot at 57 kg, Fix defeated 2017 Senior World silver medalist Thomas Gilman in a three-match thriller at Final X: Lincoln.

A 2012 Junior World silver medalist, Downey won the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in May and was uncontested in Final X: Rutgers as 2018 World champion David Taylor forfeited his spot due to injury. August will mark Downey’s first Pan Am event at any level.

2019 PAN AMERICAN GAMES
at Lima, Peru (Aug. 7-10)

Schedule

Wednesday, Aug. 7
10 a.m. – Preliminary rounds and semifinals (GR 60, 67, 77, 87, 97)
4:30 p.m. – Finals (GR 60, 67, 77, 87, 97)

Thursday, Aug. 8
10 a.m. – Preliminary rounds and semifinals (GR 130, WFS 50, 53, 57)
4:30 p.m. – Finals (GR 130, WFS 50, 53, 57)

Friday, Aug. 9
10 a.m. – Preliminary rounds and semifinals (WFS 62, 68, 76, MFS 57, 65)
4:30 p.m. – Finals (WFS 62, 68, 76, MFS 57, 65)

Saturday, Aug. 10
10 a.m. – Preliminary rounds and semifinals (MFS 74, 86, 97,125)
4:30 p.m. – Finals (MFS 74, 86, 97,125)

Rosters

Greco-Roman
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./Titan Mercury WC/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)

U.S. Greco-Roman National Head Coach – Matt Lindland, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Herb House, Castle Rock, Colo.

Women’s freestyle
50 kg: Whitney Conder (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP)
53 kg: Sarah Hildebrandt (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC)
57 kg: Jenna Burkert (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP)
62 kg: Kayla Miracle (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids/Hawkeye WC)
68 kg: Tamyra Mensah-Stock (Colorado Springs, Colo./Titan Mercury WC)
76 kg: Adeline Gray (Denver, Colo./New York AC)

U.S. Women’s Freestyle National Head Coach – Terry Steiner, Colorado Springs, Colo.
U.S. Women’s Freestyle National Assistant Coach – Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Troy Steiner, Fresno, Calif.

Men’s freestyle
57 kg: Daton Fix (Sand Springs, Okla./Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC)
65 kg: Zain Retherford (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC)
74 kg: Jordan Burroughs (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC)
86 kg: Pat Downey (Princeton, N.J./Titan Mercury WC/NJRTC)
97 kg: Kyle Snyder (Columbus, Ohio/Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC)
125 kg: Nick Gwiazdowski (Raleigh, N.C./Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC)

U.S. Men’s Freestyle National Head Coach – Bill Zadick, Colorado Springs, Colo.
U.S. Manager of Freestyle Programs – Joe Russell, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Obe Blanc, Raleigh, N.C.

Team Leader (MFS) – Jamie Dinan, New York, N.Y.
Team Leader (WFS) – Jim Bennett, New Caanan, Conn.

Medical – Cyrus Poitier, Berkeley, Calif.
Medical – Randy Boswell, Coeur d`Alene, Idaho
Medical – Daniel Clearfield, North Richland Hills, Texas

Media – Taylor Miller, Colorado Springs, Colo.

USA Wrestling – Rich Bender, Colorado Springs, Colo.
USA Wrestling – Cody Bickley, Colorado Springs, Colo.