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USA wins women’s freestyle team title at U20 Pan American Championships, led by seven champions

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

2023 U20 Pan-American women's freestyle team champions. Richard Immel, USA Wrestling
Photos: The U.S. women's freestyle team after winning first place at the 2023 U23 Pan-American Championships. (Richard Immel, USA Wrestling)

Watch: U20 Pan-American Championships athlete and coach interviews

SANTIAGO, Chile – The United States had a strong performance, winning nine medals on the way to the women’s freestyle team title at the U20 Pan American Championships on Friday.

Seven U.S. athletes claimed gold medals and were able to run with the American flag to celebrate: Mia Palumbo (50 kg), Alexandra Szkotnicki (53 kg), Virginia Foard (55 kg), Sarah Savidge (59 kg), Ella Schmit (65 kg), Haley Ward (72 kg) and Kylie Welker (76 kg).

Welker, a 2021 U20 World champion and 2021 Senior World Team member, was dominant at 76 kg, going 4-0 in a five-athlete round robin. Welker scored a pin, two technical falls and a forfeit on the way to the title. Welker competes for the University of Iowa.

Szkotnicki, a 2019 U17 World Team member, also finished 4-0 in a five-athlete round robin. She had two falls, a technical fall and a forfeit win on the way to her dominant win. Szkotnicki completed high school this year in Maryland and will attend McKendree next year.

Foard, a Virginia native who completed high school this year at Wyoming Seminary, also was perfect in a five-athlete round robin. She secured three technical falls and one fall in her march to the title. Foard will compete for King University.

Ward, a recent high school graduate in Missouri, scored a pin in 3:49 in her finals match against Paige Maher of Canada. Ward broke up a 4-4 tie with a takedown, then turned Maher and pressed her for the pin. Ward will attend the University of Iowa.

The other three U.S. champions were college wrestlers this season, Palumbo at Iowa Wesleyan, Savidge at Life University, and Schmit at the University of Iowa.

Palumbo scored three first period takedowns for the early lead, on the way to the 7-2 finals victory over Maia Cabrera of Argentina.

Savidge was excellent on her feet, scoring multiple takedowns on the way to a 12-2 technical fall win in her finals match against Leonela Gruezo Ortiz of Ecuador.

Schmit was explosive in her five-athlete round robin, securing three falls and a wide-open 17-6 technical fall in her last round robin match over Gleymaris Beria Diaz of Venezuela. Based upon her dominant performance, Schmit was awarded with the Golden Boot as the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

The USA added two more medals, a silver medal from London Houston at 68 kg and a bronze medal from SaVannah Cosme at 62 kg. Houston won her first three matches, before falling to Nicoll Parrado Osorio of Colombia, 6-3 in the finals. Cosme lost her first match, but was pulled back into a bronze-medal bout when her opponent made the finals. Cosme scored a pin against Sheyla Pedragas Moreno of Peru to claim the bronze.

Shelby Moore finished up the USA team effort with a fourth-place at 57 kg, losing in her bronze-medal bout.

The USA won the team title handily with 222 points, 106 points ahead of runner-up Canada with 116 points. Mexico claimed third place with 110 points.

The action from Santiago will continue at 10 a.m. (ET) tomorrow with the preliminary rounds of men’s freestyle competition. The medal matches will follow at 5 p.m. (ET).

A live stream of the tournament is available to the U.S. audience on Complete brackets and up-to-date results will be provided by United World Wrestling at

At Santiago, Chile, June 6-8

Women’s Freestyle Medalists

50 kg
Gold - Mia Palumbo (USA)
Silver - Maia Cabrere (Argentina) Abigail
Bronze - Antuaneth Casusol Casas (Peru)
Bronze - Serena Rosa Di Benedetto (Canada)

Gold - Palumbo dec. Cabrera, 7-2
Bronze - Casusol Casas dec. Leena Mercado (Puerto Rico), pin 5:11
Bronze - Di Benedetto tech. fall Vicky Leon Gomez (Ecuador), 13-2

53 kg
Gold - Alexandra Szkotnicki (USA)
Silver - Shammilka Miranda Diaz (Puerto Rico)
Bronze - Emilly Dos Santos Ferreira (Brazil)

55 kg
Gold - Virginia Foard (USA)
Silver - Angie Zea Alvarado (Peru)
Bronze - Angelica Vicente Gonzalez (Puerto Rico)

57 kg
Gold - Camila Amarilla (Argentina)
Silver - Bertha Rojas Chavez (Mexico)
Bronze - Tatiana Hurtado Lerma (Colombia)

Gold – Amarilla dec. Rojas Chavez, 6-4
Bronze – Hurtado Lerma dec. Shelby Moore (USA), 10-6

59 kg
Gold - Sarah Savidge (USA)
Silver - Leonela Guezo Ortiz (Ecuador)
Bronze - Alexa Cuero Cuadrado (Colombia)

Gold – Savidge tech. fall Guezo Ortiz, 12-3
Bronze – Cuero Cuadrado pin Jacqueline Hernandez Gonzalez (El Salvador), 1:21

62 kg
Gold - Melanie Jimenez Villalba (Mexico)
Silver - Mayara Ramos Pereira (Brazil)
Bronze - Eliana Fuentes Palacios (Colombia)
Bronze - Savannah Cosme (USA)

Gold – Jimenez Villalba pin Ramos Pereira (Brazil), 1:42
Bronze – Fuentes Palacios pin Martina Godoy Corvalan (Chile), 0:56
Bronze – Cosme pin Sheyla Pedragas Moreno (Peru), 1:20

65 kg
Gold - Ella Schmit (USA)
Silver - Gleymaris Beria Diaz (Venezuela)
Bronze - Evelyn Orta Gonzalez (Mexico)

68 kg
Gold - Nicoll Parrado Osorio (Colombia)
Silver - London Houston (USA)
Bronze - Leticia de Oliveira Giaon Piazza (Brazil)

72 kg
Gold - Haley Ward (USA)
Silver - Paige Maher (Canada)
Bronze - Karla Castillo Garcia (Venezuela)

Gold – Ward pin Maher, 2:48
Bronze – Castillo Garcia dec. Melanie Sanchez Morales (Chile), 6-4

76 kg
Gold - Kylie Welker (USA)
Silver - Myah Phillips (Canada)
Bronze - Maria de Almeida Dos Santos (Brazil)

Note: Weight classes without medal match results were round robin format.

U.S. Women’s Freestyle Results

50 kg – Mia Palumbo (Oak Lawn, Ill./ Team Illinois), Gold medal
WIN Serena Di Benedetto (Canada), 9-3
WIN Vicky Leon Gomez (Ecuador)m tech. fall, 11-1
WIN Maia Cabrera (Argentina), 7-2

53 kg – Alexandra Szkotnicki (Riva, Md./ Belvidere Bandits WC), Gold medal
WIN Emilly Dos Santos Ferreira (Brazil), fall, 0:50
WIN Shammilka Miranda Diaz (Puerto Rico), tech. fall, 11-0
WIN Andrea Avelino Barrientos (Mexico), forfeit
WIN Ivy Threatful (Canada), fall 0:23

55 kg – Virginia Foard (Reva, Va./Wyoming Seminary WC/New York AC), Gold medal
WIN Angie Zea Alvarado (Peru), tech. fall, 11-0
WIN Sophia Bechard (Canada), fall, 0:58
WIN Angelica Vicente Gonzalez (Puerto Rico), tech. fall, 10-0
WIN Pamela Banda Gomez (Mexico), tech fall, 10-0

57 kg – Shelby Moore (Buckley, Wash./White River Hornets WC), 4th place
WIN Thaina Anibal Ribeiro (Brazil), tech. fall, 10-0
LOSS Bertha Rojas Chavez (Mexico), 5-2
LOSS Camila Amarilla (Argentina), 9-6
LOSS Tatiana Hurado Lerma (Colombia), 10-6

59 kg – Sarah Savidge (Colorado Springs, Colo./Betterman Elite Wrestling), Gold medal
WIN Alexa Cuero Cuadrado (Colombia), fall, 3:25
WIN Caitlin Clatney (Canada), tech. fall, 14-4
WIN Jacqueline Hernandez Gonzalez (El Salvador), tech. fall, 10-0
WIN Leonela Gruezo Ortiz (Ecuador), tech. fall 12-2

62 kg – SaVannah Cosme (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids WC), Bronze medal
LOSS Melanie Jimenez Villalba (Mexico), 6-1
WIN Sheyla Pedragas Moreno (Peru), fall 1:21

65 kg –Ella Schmit (Bettendorf, Iowa/Iowa Women’s WC), Gold medal
WIN Evelyn Orta Gonzalez (Mexico), fall, 1:14
WIN Jaeell Llontop Vasquez (Chile), fall, 0:55
WIN Natalie Vecchio (Canada), fall, 0:46
WIN Gleymaris Beria Diaz (Venezuela), tech fall 17-6

68 kg – London Houston (Federal Way, Wash./Cardinal WC), Silver medal
WIN Leticia De Oliveira Gaion Piazza (Brazil), fall, 2:20
WIN Naomi Romo Macias (Mexico), forfeit
WIN Nataly Ovando Rojas (Chile), fall, 0:53
LOSS Nicoll Parrado Osorio (Colombia), 6-3

72 kg – Haley Ward (Buckner, Mo./Iowa Women’s WC), Gold medal
WIN Karla Castillo Garcia (Venezuela), fall, 2:40
WIN Nubia Lorenzana Ballesteros (Mexico), 8-1
WIN Melanie Sanchez Morales (Chile), fall, 0:55
WIN Paige Maher (Canada), fall 2:49

76 kg – Kylie Welker (Franksville, Wis./Iowa Women’s WC), Gold medal
WIN Maria De Almeida Dos Santos (Brazil), fall, 0:20
WIN Karime Cortes Resendiz (Mexico), forfeit
WIN Myah Phillips (Canada), tech. fall, 10-0
WIN Aomi Riques Morales (Peru), tech fall, 10-0

Team Standings
1 United States, 222
2 Canada, 116
3 Mexico, 110
4 Brazil, 78
5 Peru, 74
6 Colombia, 70
7 Puerto Rico, 53
8 Chile, 50
9 Argentina, 45
10 Venezuela, 37
11 Ecuador, 30
12 El Salvador, 12
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