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Burroughs, Varner win freestyle gold medals at Pan American Games on Monday
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling

Jordan Burroughs has his arm raised as the Pan American Games champion at 74 kg after beating Cuba's Yunierki Blanco. Robbert Wijtman photo

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The United States won two gold medals on last day of Pan American Games wrestling competition on Monday at CODE II Gymnasium

Capturing titles were 2011 World champion Jordan Burroughs (Lincoln, Neb./Sunkist Kids) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and 2011 World bronze medalist Jake Varner (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

Burroughs defeated Yunierki Blanco of Cuba in the finals, 3-2, 3-2.

Burroughs was behind in both periods. In the first period, he trailed 2-1, but scored a quick pushout then an ankle pick takedown to win the period. In the second, the score was tied at 2-2, with Blanco holding the tiebreaker, but Burroughs scored a spin behind takedown to claim the period and the match.

“I didn’t wrestle sharp. I was a little sluggish but I got it done. Wins at this level aren’t always pretty,” said Burroughs. “I try never to panic in any match, try to keep my composure and stay calm. Every period has two minutes. I had 30 seconds left in those periods, plenty of time to get my attacks.”

Blanco was second in the 2011 Pan American Championships and was the 2011 World Cup champion.

Burroughs opened with a dominant technical fall over Jose Mercado of Ecuador. In the semifinals, he defeated Ricardo Roberty of Venezuela, 2-1, 1-1.

“Anytime Jordan needed to score, he did. Anytime he needed a call on a point, he got it. That’s what champions do,” said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones.

It has been an amazing year for Burroughs in 2011, winning the NCAA Championships, the U.S. Open, the U.S. World Team Trials, the World Championships and the Pan American Games in succession.

“This has been a great year. I’m along for the ride. I can’t believe how successful I have been. Hopefully, I can keep the ball rolling,” said Burroughs.

Varner won his gold medal match over Luis Vivenes of Venezeula, 6-0, 2-0. Varner earned a first-period technical fall, then controlled the action to close out the match in the second.

Vivenes won his second career Pan American Games silver medal, after also placing second at the 2007 Pan American Games.

“I went out and did what I had to do to win. You can always wrestle better. You can critique yourself pretty hard, but I did what I had to do,” he said.

Varner did not allow a single point in his three matches, outscoring his opponents, 24-0. Varner won his first match against Israel Silva of Mexico, 2-0, 5-0. In the semifinals, Varner stopped Khetag Pliev of Canada, 3-0, 6-0.

“When people can’t score, you are in control of the match. Sometimes, people do score on you. Fortunately for me in this tournament, I wrestled my match, stuck to my game plan and it worked out for me,” said Varner.

“You can’t score on Jake. His defense is too good,” said Jones. “He has perhaps the best stance in the world. You can’t score on a guy you can’t get out of position.”

The United States won the medal standings in men’s freestyle as well as the unofficial team standings.

The USA finished with six medalists, including four golds, one silver and one bronze. Cuba was next with five medals, including one gold, two silvers and two bronzes.

In the unofficial standings, using the FILA scoring system, the USA had 57 points, ahead of Cuba with 48 points and Canada with 47 points.

“Coaches Burnett and Gable talked about putting together back-to-back performances. We didn’t win the World Championships but we had a good performance, and we had a good performance here at the Pan Am Games. That is telling us that we are doing the right things. Our men are training hard and are focused on what we have to get done. We will continue that momentum throughout the year,” said Jones.

The last time the USA had four individual freestyle champions was 2003, with titles from Stephen Abas (55 kg), Joe Williams (74 kg), Daniel Cormier (96 kg) and Kerry McCoy (120 kg)

Two past NCAA Div. I wrestling champions won their medal matches.

Franklin Gomez of Puerto Rico, who won his NCAA title for Michigan State, claimed the title at 60 kg/132 lbs, beating Guillermo Torres of Mexico in the finals, 4-0, 6-0

Matt Gentry of Canada, who won his NCAA title for Stanford, won his bronze medal match at 74 kg/163 lbs. over Eduardo Valencia of Mexico, 4-0, 9-2.

Overall, the United States won 12 medals at the Pan American Games in wrestling, including five gold medals, five silver medals and two bronze medals.

At Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct. 24

Men's freestyle results

60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold – Franklin Gomez (Puerto Rico)
Silver – Guillermo Torres Cervantes (Mexico)
Bronze – Fernando Iglesias (Argentina)
Bronze – Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez (Cuba)
5th – Luis Portillo Mejia (El Salvador)
5th – Gabriel Garcia Sanchez (Dominican Republic)
7th – Nelson Garcia Ramos (Colombia)
8th – Wilfredo Henriquez Hernandez (Venezuela)
9th – Ryley Walker (Canada)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold – Jordan Burroughs (USA)
Silver – Yunierki Blanco Mora (Cuba)
Bronze – Matt Gentry (Canada)
Bronze – Ricardo Robertty Moreno (Venezuela)
5th – Eduardo Valencia Escoto (Mexico)
5th – Jose Mercado Estacio (Ecuador)
7th – Rosalio Medrano Gulfo (Colombia)
8th – Pool Ambrosio Greifo (Peru)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold – Jake Varner (USA)
Silver – Luis Vivenes Urbaneja (Venezuela)
Bronze – Khetag Pliev (Canada)
Bronze – Juan Martinez Ibarguen (Colombia)
5th – Israel Silva Rios (Mexico)
5th – Marcos Santos Bonnet (Puerto Rico)
7th – Michel Batista Martinez (Cuba)
8th – Randy Lambert Martinez (Honduras)

U.S. men’s performance on Monday

74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids), 1st
WIN Jose Mercado (Ecuador), 7-0, 6-0
WIN Ricardo Roberty (Venezuela), 2-1, 1-1
WIN Yunierki Blanco (Cuba), 3-2, 3-2

96 kg/211.5 lbs. – Jake Varner, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC), 1st
WIN Israel Silva (Mexico), 2-0, 5-0
WIN Khetag Pliev (Canada), 3-0, 6-0
WIN Luis Vivenes (Venezuela), 6-0, 2-0

Men’s Freestyle Medal Count
United States, 6 (4 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze)
Cuba, 5 (1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze)
Canada, 5 (0 gold, 1 silver, four bronze)
Venezuela, 3 (0 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze)
Puerto Rico, 2 (1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze)
Dominican Republic, 2 (1 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze)
Ecuador, 2 (0 gold, 0 silver, 2 bronze)
Mexico, 1 (0 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze)
Argentina, 1 (0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze)
Colombia, 1 (0 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze)

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