Dom Parrish, Zane Richards and Alan Vera pictured during a pre-event training session at the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico.
Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

Dom Parrish, Zane Richards and Alan Vera pictured during a pre-event training session at the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico.


11 Americans receive draw for Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier

by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

2024 Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier Brackets

ACAPULCO, Mexico – The draws for all three international disciplines have been released for the 2024 Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico. 11 Americans are entered with aspirations of securing a coveted weight class quota for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class were seeded based on ranking points from international results, including last week’s Pan American Championships. The remaining entrants were placed into each bracket by blind draw. Nine Americans earned a place among the top four.

The Greco-Roman group of six—Ildar Hafizov, Alejandro Sancho, Kamal Bey, Spencer Woods, Alan Vera and Cohlton Schultz—looks to kick start the U.S. effort in Acapulco on Wednesday. All six men have experience on their side as past U.S. World Team members.

Hafizov and Sancho are looking for return trips to the Olympic stage after getting a taste in Tokyo, and both are in prime position to do so.

At 60 kg, Hafizov opens against Kevin De Armas Rodriguez of Cuba in a rematch of the 2023 Pan American Games final from Santiago, which Hafizov won 7-5.

Sancho awaits the winner between Mauricio Lovera of Argentina and Nilton Soto Garcia (Peru) at 67 kg. Neither Lovera nor Soto Garcia medaled at last week’s Pan American Championships, an event which Sancho earned gold.

Bey and Schultz climbed the Greco-Roman ranks together, both earning age-group World medals prior to commanding the top Senior-level posts in their respective weight classes.

The 77 kg opener for Bey offers an opportunity to prove he’s ready to medal in Paris. He is likely to face Argentina’s new transfer Arsen Julfalakyan, a five-time Olympic and World medalist and 2014 World champion for Armenia. Julfalakyan needs to defeat Emmanuel Benitez Castro of Mexico in round one to set the match with Bey.

With only six entrants at 130 kg, Schultz must compete in round-robin format, guaranteeing himself at least two matches tomorrow. His first opponent is Jorawar Dhinsa of Canada, whom Schultz handled 6-0 last week, followed by a slightly stiffer test against two-time Olympian Eduard Soghomonyan of Brazil. If Schultz places in the top two of his pool, he will advance to a semifinal match against a wrestler from the opposite pool.

After a dynamic performance at the U.S. Senior Nationals up at his new weight of 97 kg, Vera appears locked in to earn the Olympic quota. He should have no trouble with Panama’s Max Madrid De Leon in round one. The true test for Vera will come in the semifinals, likely against Olympian and 10-time Pan American medalist Luillys Perez Mora of Venezuela.

Woods is the relative newcomer to the bunch after breaking through for his first World Championships appearance at the non-Olympic weight of 82 kg last year. Now up at 87 kg, he is matched up against Ariel Alfonso Rodriguez of Honduras to begin his tournament. A win in round one pushes Woods to a likely semifinal against 2020 Olympian and four-time Pan American champion Daniel Gregorich of Cuba.

The second day of competition has potential to be a banner one for Team USA as three top-flight women’s freestyle athletes take the mats—Tokyo Olympian and two-time World finalist Kayla Miracle, two-time World champion Amit Elor and World champion Dom Parrish.

Miracle topped the podium at last week’s Pan American Championships with three impressive wins, earning the top seed at 62 kg. She awaits the winner between Maria Santana Garcia of Cuba and Carina Giangeruso of Puerto Rico. As the reigning Pan American Games silver medalist Santana Garcia is the favorite to reach Miracle.

In this her inaugural international foray at 68 kg, Elor is looking to put the weight on notice with another powerful performance. She opens the tournament against Brenda Sterling Martinez of Cuba. A win would put her in position to face the top seed, Nicoll Parrado Osoria of Colombia, in the semifinals.

Similar to Miracle, Parrish holds the top seed at 53 kg and must play the waiting game early in the tournament. She is set to face the winner between Yusneiry Agrazal West of Panama and Antonia Valdes Arriagada of Chile, where Valdes Arriagada would be considered the favorite as a Pan American Games bronze medalist.

Reigning U.S. World Team members Zane Richards and Nick Lee take on the task of qualifying the remaining two men’s freestyle weight classes for Paris. Both men are in prime position to fulfil the task at hand.

Richards, the reigning Pan American Games champion, will see either Peter Hammer Cude of Costa Rica or Edwin Segura Guerra of Guatemala in the first round. His predicted semifinal opponent would be Puerto Rico’s Darian Cruz, who is a past NCAA champion for Lehigh. Richards topped Cruz by six points in Santiago, Chile, last November.

For Lee, the path to the 65 kg Olympic quota starts with either Matias Munoz Ramirez of Chile or Austin Gomez of Mexico. Gomez, who is a NCAA All-American and currently wrestling at Michigan, and Lee share a little history from last year’s World Championships. Lee picked up a fall on Gomez out in Serbia in a fun, back-and-forth contest.

The Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier kicks off each day 10 a.m. (CT) from Hotel Mundo Imperial in Acapulco. The all-important semifinal round, where each winner earns an Olympic quota for his or her country, is set for 5 p.m. (CT) daily.

The U.S. audience can watch this event live through and annual subscription options are available. Brackets and updated results can be found on UWW Arena.

For those unable to tune in live, USA Wrestling will provide continued coverage from Acapulco on and its various social media platform. Add to the conversation using #wrestleacapulco.


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