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Nik Fekete, Joe Warren strike gold on first day of Pan Ams



RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Americans Nik Fekete and Joe Warren captured gold medals on Friday as the three-day Pan American Championships for wrestling kicked off.

Fekete won the 96 kg/211.5 pound title in freestyle. Warren won the 60 kg/132 pound championship in Greco-Roman. Fekete and Warren compete for the New York Athletic Club.

The U.S. also had a silver medalist in Donny Pritzlaff of the New York Athletic Club in freestyle at 74 kg/163 pounds. American Adam Wheeler of the U.S. Olympic Education Center/Gator Wrestling Club also was second in Greco-Roman at 96 kg/211.5 pounds. Brandon McNab of the U.S. Army won a bronze medal in Greco-Roman at 74 kg/163 pounds.

Day 2 of the event was off to a strong start for the Americans as Henry Cejudo of the Sunkist Kids (55 kg/121 lbs.), Doug Schwab of the Gator Wrestling Club (66 kg/145.5 lbs.), Clint Wattenberg of the New York Athletic Club (84 kg/185 lbs.) and Steve Mocco of the New York Athletic Club (120 kg/264.5 lbs.) made the finals in freestyle. Jacob Clark of the U.S. Marines (84 kg/185 lbs.) and Dremiel Byers of the U.S. Army (120 kg/264.5 lbs.) advanced to the finals in Greco-Roman.

Fekete beat Brazil's Antoine Jaode 4-1, 6-0 to clinch the gold medal on Friday night. Pritzlaff fell 4-3, 1-0 to past World bronze medalist Ivan Fundora of Cuba in the finals.

"Fekete looked extremely tough and wrestled aggressively," U.S. freestyle coach Mike Duroe said. "And Pritzlaff was impressive. He wrestled very well against a guy who was third in the World."

Warren pinned Milton Orellana of Guatemala in the finals while Wheeler fell to Alain Rivas of Cuba in his title bout.

Mocco trailed 2-0 in his first-round match with Disney Rodriguez of Cuba before rallying to win 4-2, 2-0. He pinned Ari Taub of Canada in the semifinals. Mocco will face Edgar Becara of Venezuela in Saturday night's finals.

The other three freestyle finalists from the U.S. have Cubans in the finals on Saturday night. Cejudo will meet Luis Ibanes, Schwab will face Ivan Lopes and Wattenberg will tangle with Reineria Salas.

Cejudo, second at the U.S. World Team Trials last weekend in Sioux City, Iowa, beat Argentina's Emiliano Guerra 4-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and Panama's Antonio Gonzalez 4-0, 7-0 in the semifinals.

Warren, Pritzlaff, Byers and Clark each won the World Team Trials last weekend.

The event continues through Sunday. The entire women's freestyle competition is set for Sunday.
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