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Cover, Welsh, Wolf win gold, Casale earns silver in final day of Junior Pan American Games

by Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling

Photo: Matthew Cover, Sam Wolf, Rocco Welsh and Peter Casale pose with their medals. Photo by USA Wrestling.

CALI, Colombia – The USA wrapped up the final day of wrestling competition at the Junior Pan American Games, winning three gold medals and a silver in the men’s freestyle gold medal finals in Cali, Colombia.

With men’s freestyle competition split into two days, the U.S. began Saturday’s competition with a gold and bronze medal under its belt, thanks to Cody Chittum and Richard Figueroa, respectively.

At 74 kg, Rocco Welsh opened his tournament with a 7-2 win against Cuba’s Geannis Garzon Tamayo of Cuba and a 13-0 technical fall over Kevin Olavarria Montilla of Puerto Rico to secure his spot in the finals. There, he met Juan Martinez of the Dominican Republic, who he dominated, 10-0, to start the USA’s session with another gold.

Air Force wrestler Sam Wolf was impressive at 86 kg, sailing to the finals with a 12-2 tech fall over 2021 Junior Pan Am silver medalist Liosbel Hernandez Bustamante of Cuba, followed by a decisive 10-7 win against Venezuela’s Steven Rodriguez Torreyes. In the gold match, Wolf took down Juan Iturriza Ruiz from Mexico, a two-time age-group Pan Am medalist, 12-1.

At 97 kg, Peter Casale, who won a Cadet Pan American title this summer, added to his young resume with a silver medal on Saturday. In the morning session, Casale registered a 10-0 tech fall over Chigozie Ijeoma of the Bahamas before scoring a pin against Josue Campos Arizpe of Mexico for a spot in the finals. There, he faced 2021 Junior Pan Am champion Arturo Silot Torres from Cuba, who defeated Casale, 12-1.

Wrestling heavyweight, Matthew Cover advanced to the finals, thanks to a 10-0 tournament opener over Jhoan Ocoro of host country Colombia and a win via fall against Cuba’s Yoan Robert Ramirez. In the gold match, Cover defeated Junior Pan Am bronze medalist Luis Orozco Cortez, 10-0, for the USA’s third gold medal of the day.

Overall, Team USA’s 15-wrestler roster produced 12 medals, including four golds, two silvers and six bronzes.


Cali, Colombia | Dec. 1-4, 2021

U.S. men’s freestyle results

74 kg: Rocco Welsh (Waynesburg, Pa./Young Guns WC) – GOLD
WIN Geannis Garzon Tamayo (Cuba), 7-2
WIN Kevin Olavarria Montilla (Puerto Rico), 13-0
WIN Juan Martinez (Dominican Republic), 10-0

86 kg: Sam Wolf (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Force RTC) – GOLD
WIN Liosbel Hernandez Bustamante (Cuba), 12-2
WIN Steven Rodriguez Torreyes (Venezuela), 10-7
WIN Juan Iturriza Ruiz (Mexico), 12-1

97 kg: Peter Casale, Jr. (Little Falls, N.J./NJ Scorpions) – SILVER
WIN Chigozie Ijeoma (Bahamas), 10-0
WIN Josue Campos Arizpe (Mexico), fall
LOSS Arturo Silot Torres (Cuba), 12-1

125 kg: Matthew Cover (Bay Village, Ohio/Princeton WC) – GOLD
WIN Jhoan Ocoro (Colombia), 10-0
WIN Yoan Robert Ramirez (Cuba), 4-3
WIN Luis Orozco Cortez (Mexico), 10-0