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A review of the draws for eight U.S. men's freestylers for final day of Pan American Championships

by Willie Saylor, Special to

Kyle Dake (USA) trips Frank Chamizo (ITA). Dake is competing Sunday at the Pan American Championships.

A star studded roster will anchor Team USA at the Pan American Championships in Acapulco, Mexico. Each of the eight men’s freestylers that compete on Sunday have medaled at the World Championships at various age levels, with three of them earning hardware at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Action begins at 11AM ET with qualification rounds through semifinals. Medal matches start at 5PM. All can be watched live on

57kg - Thomas Gilman (NLWC) vs. BYE

Faces Winner of Brandon Jesus Escobar (HON) vs. Enrique Armando Herrera Huacre ERRERA (PER)

In 2021 Gilman was Bronze at the Tokyo Olympics and won Gold at the World Championships.

Escobar is a Pan Am veteran and a 2012 Olympian who hasn’t competed internationally since taking bronze at Pan Ams in Greco back in 2018. Herrera was the Junior Pan Am runner-up last year.

Also in the bracket is Canada’s Darthe Capellan who was bronze at Pan Am’s in 2019, along with two wrestlers with American ties: Darian Cruz (PUR) and Guiseppe Rea (ECU).

61kg - Daton Fix (Titan Mercury) vs. Round Robin

A Pan Am Champion in 2019 at 57kg, Fix was a World Silver medalist last year. He’s in a round robin and opens with Puerto Rico’s Joseph Silva. Others in the group are Canada’s Logan Sloan and Bryan Flores Salazar of Mexico.

Fix will be a heavy favorite.

65kg - Joey McKenna (PRTC) vs. BYE

McKenna returns as the 65kg Pan Am Champ. He has a bye to the quarterfinals where he’ll face the winner of Andre Renato Quispe Fajardo (CHI) and Dom Juan Martins Ferreria (BRA).

On the other side of the bracket, wrestling for Puerto Rico, is Rutgers’ Sebastian Rivera, who McKenna teched in last year’s semifinals. Rivera finished bronze. Also on that side is Augustin Destribats (ARG) who beat Zain Retherford at the Pan Am Olympic Qualification tournament in 2020.

70kg - Zain Retherford (NLWC) vs. Round Robin

A two-time Senior World Team member and former Cadet World Champion, Retherford moves up to 70kg and is in a round robin where he’ll open up with Vinicius Joaquim da Silva (BRA).

Also in the group is Alexis Magallanes (MEX), Jhon Chunga Carreno (PER), Christian Andrews Karlikowski (ARG) and Emmanuel Olapade (CAN).

74kg - Kyle Dake (Spartan Combat) vs. BYE

Olympic Bronze and World Champion in ‘21, Kyle Dake returns to competition with a bye to the quarters where he’ll see either Mexico’s Diego Sandoval or Enrique Perez Castellanos (GUA).

Sandoval was the Junior Pan Am runner up to Pennsylvania’s Rocco Welsh last year. Castellanos was bronze in the senior division at 70kgs in a bracket won by Alec Pantaleo.

Also on Dake’s side of the bracket is Cuban veteran Franklin Maren Castillo who was World bronze in 2018.

On the opposite side of the bracket is Franklin Gomez (PUR), a former Michigan State Spartan and 2016 Olympian.

86kg - Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids) vs. BYE

Former Junior World finalist and last year’s Yarygin bronze medalist, Valencia also has a bye to the quarters where he’ll see the winner of Christian Alejandro Anguiano Flores (MEX) vs. Taran Goring (CAN).

Also on his side of the bracket is Carlos Izquierdo (COL), who was 5th at Worlds in 2019.

97kg - Kyle Snyder (NLWC) vs. BYE

Snyder is seeking his seventh title at a Pan Am Championships or Games. This year’s Yarygin Champ, he’ll start with the winner between Ailton Brito Rocha (BRA) and Luis Miguel Perez Sosa (DOM). Snyder beat Perez Sosa in finals last year.

Also in the bracket is talented up-and-comer Arturo Torres (CUB) who won JR Pan Ams last year and placed 5th at Yarygin back in 2019.

125kg - Nick Gwiazdowski (Spartan Combat) vs. BYE

Two-time World medalist Gwiazdowski will start his tournament in the quarters against either Diego Jesus Almendras Rodrigues (CHI) or Charles Merrill (PUR).

Also on his side of the bracket is Jose Diaz Robertti (VEN), an annual Pan Am medal contender.

On the other side of the bracket is former Oregon State wrestler Amarveer Dhesi (CAN), who won Pan Ams in 2020.