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U.S. closes Pan American Championships with six more men’s freestyle golds and a dominant team title

by Willie Saylor, Special to

Kyle Snyder (USA) goes airborne while scoring during 2022 Pan American Championships. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

The United States posted a 27-1 record in freestyle to capture eight Gold medals and the team title Pan Ams. Earlier in the week, both the Greco and Women’s Freestyle teams also won titles.

There were just two blemishes on an otherwise pristine ledger in men's freestyle. Zain Retherford (70kg) was pulled from the tournament after weigh ins due to illness. And Nick Gwiazdowski lost a tight 5-3 decision in the finals to Amarveer Dhesi (CAN) in a battle between the last two Pan Am heavyweight champs. Gwiazdowski led 3-3 late before Dhesi was awarded a takedown after a challenge with just ten seconds remaining.

The Gwiazdowski-Dhesi bout was one of four finals featuring a Team USA member against a former NCAA All American. Thomas Gilman teched Lehigh’s National Champion, Darian Cruz, in the finals at 57kg. Joey Mckenna (65kg) blanked Sebastian Rivera (of Rutgers and Northwestern). And Kyle Dake (74kg) beat Franklin Gomez of Michigan State, 10-1. Cruz, Rivera, and Gomez all represented Puerto Rico.

Zahid Valencia (86kg) and Kyle Snyder (97kg) both beat Cuban opposition in their finals. Snyder teched Arturo Silot Torres who won titles in the Junior division last year at both the Pan Am Games and Pan Am Championships.

The nearly perfect performance comes a day after Jordan Burroughs (79kg) and J’den Cox (92kg) both won Golds. This gave the USA 229 total points, an amazing 91 points ahead of second place Canada with 138 points. Puerto Rico finished in third with 120 points.

The Pan American Championships event scores points toward the UWW Ranking Series for 2022, which determines seeds at the 2022 World Championships.


At Acapulco, Mexico

Sunday’s men’s freestyle medalists

57 kg

Gold - Thomas GILMAN (USA)

Silver - Darian Toi CRUZ (PUR)

Bronze - Oscar Eduardo TIGREROS URBANO (COL)

Bronze - Alexei ALVAREZ BLANCO (CUB)

61 kg

Gold - Daton FIX (USA)

Silver - Joseph Andres SILVA (PUR)

Bronze - Pedro Bryan FLORES SALAZAR (MEX)

65 kg

Gold - Joseph MC KENNA (USA)

Silver - Sebastian C RIVERA (PUR)

Bronze - Agustin Alejandro DESTRIBATS (ARG)


70 kg

Gold - Emmanuel Olufemi OLAPADE (CAN)

Silver - Vinicius DA SILVA JOAQUIM (BRA)


74 kg

Gold - Kyle DAKE (USA)

Silver - Franklin GOMEZ MATOS (PUR)

Bronze - Franklin MAREN CASTILLO (CUB)


86 kg

Gold - Zahid VALENCIA (USA)

Silver - Lazaro Daniel HERNANDEZ LUIS (CUB)

Bronze - Ethan Adrian RAMOS (PUR)

Bronze - Carlos Arturo IZQUIERDO MENDEZ (COL)

97 kg

Gold - Kyle SNYDER (USA)

Silver - Arturo SILOT TORRES (CUB)

Bronze - Luis Miguel PEREZ SOSA (DOM)

Bronze - Maxwell Lemar LACEY GARITA (CRC)

130 kg

Gold - Amarveer DHESI (CAN)

Silver - Nicholas GWIAZDOWSKI (USA)

Bronze - Jose Daniel DIAZ ROBERTTI (VEN)

Bronze - Catriel Pehuen MURIEL (ARG)

U.S. men’s freestyle performances on Sunday

57kg: Thomas Gilman (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC), gold medal

Quarterfinal: tf. Enrique Armando HERRERA HUACRE (PER), 11-0

Semifinal: tf. Alexei ALVAREZ BLANCO (CUB), 12-2

Final: tf. Darian CRUZ (PUR), 11-0

61kg: Daton Fix (Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC), gold medal

Round Robin 1: tf. Joseph Andres SILVA (PUR), 11-0

Round Robin 2: tf. Pedro Bryan FLORES SALAZAR (MEX), 10-0

Round Robin 3: fall Logan James SLOAN (CAN), 0:40

65kg: Joey McKenna (Titan Mercury WC/Penn RTC), gold medal

Quarterfinal: tf. Andre Renato QUISPE FAJARDO (CHI), 10-0

Semifinal: df. Agustin Alejandro DESTRIBATS (ARG), 13-5

Final: Sebastian RIVERA (PUR), 10-0, 1:05

70kg: Zain Retherford (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC), 7th place

Round Robin 1: BYE

Round Robin 2: forfeit to Emmanuel Olufemi OLAPADE (CAN)

Round Robin 3: forfeit to Vinicius DA SILVA JOAQUIM (BRA)

74kg: Kyle Dake (Titan Mercury WC/Spartan Combat RTC), gold medal

Quarterfinal: tf. Diego Antonio SANDOVAL ZARCO (MEX), 10-0

Semifinal: tf. Franklin MAREN CASTILLO (CUB), 10-0

Final: dec. Franklin GOMEZ MATOS (PUR), 10-1

86kg: Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids), gold medal

Quarterfinal: tf. Christian Alejandro ANGUIANO FLORES (MEX), 11-0

Semifinal: tf. Carlos Arturo IZQUIERDO MENDEZ (COL), 14-4

Final: dec. Lazaro Hernandez (CUB), 4-1

97kg: Kyle Snyder (Titan Mercury WC/Nittany Lion WC), gold medal

Quarterfinal: tf. Luis Miguel PEREZ SOSA (DOM), 10-0

Semifinal: tf. Nishan Preet Singh RANDHAWA (CAN), 11-0

Final: tf. Arturo TORRES (CUB), 12-1, 2:32

125kg: Nick Gwiazdowski (Titan Mercury WC/Spartan Combat), silver medal

Quarterfinal: tf. Charles Zachary MERRILL (PUR), 10-0

Semifinal: tf. Jose Daniel DIAZ ROBERTTI (VEN), 11-1

Final: loss to Amarveer DHESI (CAN), 5-3

Team Standings

1. United States, 229

2. Canada, 138

3. Puerto Rico, 120

4. Mexico, 101

5. Cuba, 76

6. Argentina, 56

7. Brazil, 55

8. Colombia, 54

9. Dominican Republic, 38

10. Venezuela, 37