Garrett, Hall, Molinari move to Pan American Games finals; Golston, Mota-Pettis qualify for bronze medal match
by Richard Immel
SANTIAGO, Chile – The momentum continued Thursday morning for Team USA wrestling at the Pan American Games—Nahshon Garrett, Mark Hall and Forrest Molinari secured berths in the gold medal finals, while Erin Golston and Xochitl Mota-Pettis both qualified for a bronze medal match.
Jumping up from his usual competition weight of 61 kg, Garrett didn’t miss a beat on his road to the 65 kg men’s freestyle finals. He played to the local crowd inside Centro de Entrenamiento Olímpico with flashy outside finishes, keeping a certain edge about him through his three impressive victories.
After two decisive wins to open the day, Garrett saw 2020 Olympian and four-time Pan American medalist Agustin Destribats of Argentina in the semifinals. Garrett surged out to a 7-2 lead with a pair of highlight-worthy takedowns. He played it safe in the final moments, surrendering positions for a step out and takedown as the clock wound down.
Two-time World bronze medalist, two-time Olympian and reigning Pan American Games champion Alejandro Valdes Tobier of Cuba is Garrett’s opponent in the gold medal match.
It was a different approach with similar results for Hall, who is a two-time U20 World champion and U17 World champion. The 86 kg representative for the U.S. was patient and calm throughout all positions during his two session one victories.
Hall gets a chance at revenge in the gold medal match as he will face five-time Pan American champion Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta of Cuba this evening. The two met in the semifinals of the Pan American Championships last May with the Cuban capitalizing on repeated quick shrug attempts to gain a 14-4 technical fall.
The U.S. has guaranteed itself a medal in all six men’s freestyle weight classes at the Pan American Games. Bagging all six golds in Santiago would be the cherry on top for the two-time defending team World champions as 2023 comes to a close.
Flipping over to the women’s freestyle competition, Forrest Molinari looked every bit the World medalist she is on paper with two technical falls, plus a pin in the semifinals, to gain her place in the 68 kg gold medal match. She didn’t surrender a single point to the opposition this morning.
Molinari has won the last two Pan American Championships and is a three-time gold medalist dating back to 2018. Her finals opponent is 2022 Pan American champion Soleymi Caraballo Hernandez of Venezuela. The two met earlier this year in Buenos, Aires, Argentina, with Molinari cooking to a 12-5 win.
It was a difficult morning session for the other two U.S. women but hopes of a bronze medal remain intact for both Golston and Mota-Pettis. Golston went 1-2 and dropped into the 50 kg bronze medal match against Mariana Rojas Diaz of Venezuela. Mota-Pettis built a 4-0 lead in her only match of the day before getting caught in an inside trip and pinned. She will face Angela Alvarez Martinez of Cuba for 57 kg bronze.
The second day of wrestling competition at the Pan American Games will resume at 4 p.m. (ET) with the next set of medal matches. The Panam Sports Channel is broadcasting the event live at panamsportschannel.org. Brackets and updated results from this event can be found at arena.uww.org.
2023 Pan American Games Day Two Prelims
2023 Pan American Games, At Santiago, Chile, Nov. 2
Men’s freestyle medal matches
Gold – Nahshon Garrett (United States) vs. Alejandro Valdes Tobier (Cuba)
Bronze – Agustin Destribats (Argentina) vs. Joseph Silva (Peru)
Bronze – Joseph Silva (Puerto Rico) vs. Albaro Rudecindo Camacho (Dominican Republic)
Gold – Mark Hall (United States) vs. Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta (Cuba)
Bronze – Hunter Lee (Canada) vs. Ethan Ramos (Puerto Rico)
Bronze – Carlos Izquierdo Mendez (Colombia) vs. Pedro Ceballos Fuentes (Venezuela)
Women’s freestyle medal matches
Gold – Jacqueline Mollocana Eleno (Ecuador) vs. Yusneylis Guzman Lopez (Cuba)
Bronze – Erin Golston (United States) vs. Mariana Rojas Diaz (Venezuela)
Gold – Giullia Rodrigues Penalber De Oliveira (Brazil) vs. Hannah Taylor (Canada)
Bronze – Xochitl Mota-Pettis (United States) vs. Angela Alvarez Martinez (Cuba)
Bronze – Luisa Valverde Melendres (Ecuador) vs. Betzabeth Sarco Colmenarez (Venezuela)
Gold – Forrest Molinari (United States) vs. Soleymi Caraballo Hernandez (Venezuela)
Bronze – Virginia Jimenez Fernandez (Chile) vs. Nicoll Parrado Osorio (Colombia)
Bronze – Olivia Di Bacco (Canada) vs. Ambar Garnica Flores (Mexico)
U.S. men’s freestyle results
65 kg – Nahshon Garrett (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania/Titan Mercury WC/Lehigh Valley WC)
WIN Joseph Silva (Peru), 12-4
WIN Andre Quispe Fajardo (Chile), tech. fall, 10-0
WIN Agustin Destribats (Argentina), 7-5
GOLD Alejandro Valdes Tobier (Cuba)
86 kg – Mark Hall (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/Titan Mercury WC/Pennsylvania RTC)
WIN Hunter Lee (Canada), tech. fall, 12-2
WIN Ethan Ramos (Puerto Rico), 7-0
GOLD Yurieski Torreblanca Queralta (Cuba)
U.S. women’s freestyle results
50 kg – Erin Golston (Lake in the Hills, Illinois/New York AC)
WIN Patricia Bermudez (Argentina), forfeit
LOSS Jacqueline Mollocana Eleno (Ecuador), 4-0
LOSS Yusneylis Guzman Lopez (Cuba), tech. fall, 11-0
BRONZE Mariana Rojas Diaz (Venezuela)
57 kg – Xochitl Mota-Pettis (Humble, Texas/Rise RTC)
LOSS Giullia Rodrigues Penalber De Oliveira (Brazil), fall, 2:08
BRONZE Angela Alvarez Martinez (Cuba)
68 kg – Forrest Molinari (Tempe, Arizona/Sunkist Kids WC)
WIN Saidy Chavez Figueroa (Honduras), tech. fall, 10-0
WIN Virginia Jimenez Fernandez (Chile), tech. fall, 11-0
WIN Nicoll Parrado Osorio (Colombia), fall, 3:40
GOLD Soleymi Caraballo Hernandez (Venezuela)