Chittum wins gold, Figueroa, Welker and Yates earn bronze at Junior Pan Am Games
by Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling
Photo (L to R): Aliyah Yates, Cody Chittum, Richard Figueroa and Kylie Welker. Photo by USA Wrestling.
CALI, Colombia – USA Wrestling was back in action at the Junior Pan American Games on Friday, earning four medals in Cali, Colombia, including one gold and three bronzes from men’s and women’s freestyle competition.
The day’s lone gold medal came from Cody Chittum, who competed at 65 kg in men’s freestyle. Chittum had four matches today, needing to win a pigtail bout to start his tournament. He rattled off three 10-0 technical falls to earn his spot in the finals, defeating opponents from Dominican Republic, Canada and Cuba. For gold, Chittum faced Hector Gonzalez of Mexico, who he dominated with an 11-0 technical fall, his fourth of the day.
It was the first gold medal for the USA this week as well as Chittum’s first international medal.
2018 Cadet World silver medalist Richard Figueroa finished the day 2-1, earning a bronze-medal finish. Losing to Cuba’s Osmany Diversent Martinez in the semifinals, Figueroa bounced back to claim the bronze medal at 57 kg, taking out Fotis Papadopoulos of Canada with a fall. He lead 11-3 at the time of the pin.
All three of USA’s women’s freestyle athletes took the mat today—Aliyah Yates, Viktorya Torres and Kylie Welker.
At 76 kg, Junior World champion and U23 World bronze medalist Welker went 1-1 in the morning session, dominating Gabriela Canales Herrera of Mexico, 8-0, before falling to 2019 Junior and U23 World champion Milaimys Marin Portrille from Cuba in a tight 4-2 battle. Welker, who also represented the U.S. at the 2021 Senior World Championships, came back strong in the bronze match, taking down Daniela Hechavarria Ramirez from Puerto Rico, 10-0.
Yates, who won bronze at the Junior Pan American Championships earlier this summer, picked up her second Pan Am medal of the year, defeating Alejandra Rivera Arriaga of Mexico, 8-7, in the 62 kg bronze-medal match. This morning, she opened with a 10-0 tech fall over Alondra Martinez Rosado of Puerto Rico, but feel in the semis to Cuba’s Yolanda Cordero Vargas, 1-1.
Making her international debut, Torres opened her day with an 8-2 victory over Vicky Cevillano Porozo of Venezuela. She dropped her semifinals and bronze-medal match for a fifth-place finish at 68 kg.
The competition wraps up on Saturday with Rocco Welsh, Sam Wolf, PJ Casale and Matthew Cover taking the mat. Fans can watch the action live on Pan Am Sports Channel, starting at 10 a.m. ET.
2021 JUNIOR PAN AMERICAN GAMES
Cali, Colombia | Dec. 1-4, 2021
U.S. women’s freestyle results
62 kg: Aliyah Yates (Palmdale, Calif.) – BRONZE
WIN Alondra Martinez Rosado (Puerto Rico), 10-0
LOSS Yolanda Cordero Vargas (Cuba), 1-1
WIN Alejandra Rivera Arriaga (Mexico), 8-7
68 kg: Viktorya Torres (Granger, Wash./Team Tornado) – FIFTH
WIN Vicky Cevillano Porozo (Ecuador), 8-2
LOSS Nicoll Parrado Osorio (Colombia), 12-1
LOSS Thaissa Anibal Ribeiro (Brazil), 10-0
76 kg: Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wisc./Titan Mercury WC) – BRONZE
WIN Gabriela Canales Herrera (Mexico), 8-0
LOSS Milaimys Marin Portille (Cuba), 4-2
WIN Daniela Hechavarria Ramirez (Puerto Rico), 10-0
U.S. men’s freestyle results
57 kg: Richard Figueroa (Selma, Calif./Sunkist Kids) – BRONZE
WIN Elkin Espana Santa (Colombia), 10-6
LOSS Osmany Diversent Martinez (Cuba), 7-5
WIN Fotis Papadopoulos (Canada), fall
65 kg: Cody Chittum (Charleston, Tenn./Greco-Roman Development) – GOLD
WIN Leandro Vallejo Cabrera (Dominican Republic), 10-0
WIN Jason-Guy Luneau (Canada), 10-0
WIN Inoisbel Gonzalez Pitaluya (Cuba), 10-0
WIN Hector Gonzalez Torres (Mexico), 11-0