Women's wrestling storylines from Pan-Am Championships


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (April 26) -- On May 3-6, hundreds of wrestlers will descend upon Buenos Aires, Argentina, to find out who are the best wrestlers in the western hemisphere at the 2023 Pan-American Championships.

The top four ranked wrestlers will be seeded for the tournament. The ranks were determined by performances at the 2022 World Championships and this year’s two Ranking Series events. This tournament will also serve as seeding criteria for the 2023 World Championships in Serbia.

All the action from Buenos Aires can be followed live on uww.org or on the UWW app.

Yaynelis SANZ VERDECIA (CUB)Yaynelis SANZ VERDECIA (CUB) won the 2021 Pan-Am Games champion. (Photo: UWW / Osvaldo Aguliar)

Five 2022 Pan-American Champions return

Five reigning Pan-American champions, representing three countries, seek to repeat their 2022 gold-medal performances. Coming from the USA is seven-time Pan-Am champion Sarah HILDEBRANDT (USA) at 50kg, Dominique PARRISH (USA) at 53kg and Forrest MOLINARI (USA) at 68kg. Molinari won her 2022 gold at 65kg.

The other two returning champions are Yaynelis SANZ VERDECIA (CUB) at 57kg and Ana GODINEZ (CAN) at 62kg. Sanz was a 2021 U20 Pan-Am Games champion, and Godinez comes in with a 2021 U23 World gold medal.

Helen MAROULIS (USA)Helen MAROULIS (USA) will return to Pan-Am competition for the first time since 2012. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

11 World medalists in the field

The Pan Am women’s field is heavy with talent, including 11 athletes that account for 24 World and Olympic medals.

Making her first Pan Am appearance since 2012, Helen MAROULIS (USA) holds a 2016 Olympic gold medal, a 2021 Olympic bronze medal, three World titles and three other World medals.

She’s joined by US medalists Hildebrandt, Parrish, Molinari, Jacarra WINCHESTER (USA), Kayla MIRACLE (USA), Mallory VELTE (USA) and Amit ELOR (USA). Fellow World champions include Winchester, who won at 55kg in 2019, Parrish who snagged the crown at 53kg in 2022, and Elor who made a statement in her 2022 championship run at 72kg.

Hildebrandt brings a 2021 Olympic bronze medal, two World silvers and a bronze. Miracle, a Tokyo Olympian, won back-to-back World silvers in 2021 and 2022 at 62kg, while Velte owns a pair of bronze medals from 2018 and 2022. Molinari adds her 2021 bronze to the competition.

Canada boasts three World medalists this weekend, including bronze winners Samantha STEWART (CAN) at 53kg and Diana WEICKER (CAN) at 55kg and 2018 world champion Justina DI STASIO (CAN) at 76kg, who also earned bronze in 2017.

Justina DI STASIO (CAN)Justina DI STASIO (CAN) was a 2018 world champion at 72kg. (Photo: UWW / Kostadin Andonov)

Weight to watch: 76kg

There’s a lot of intrigues looking at the 76kg field. Four athletes bring World gold medals and other significant accolades from different age groups.

Canada’s Di Stasio leads the pack with a 2018 world title at 72kg as well as a 2017 bronze at 75kg. Next week, she seeks her sixth Pan Am title.

Milayhis MARIN POTRILLE (CUB) is on the hunt for her first continental championship at the senior level. She has a loaded resume with U20 and U23 World gold medals from 2019, a 2021 U20 Pan-Am Games title and a 2018 Youth Olympic Games gold medal.

Tatiana RENTERIA (COL) also has a U23 World title under her belt, coming in 2022. Just a year before, she competed in her first-career World Championships, also at the U23 level, where she captured silver. Next week marks her third Senior Pan-Am appearance.

Rounding out the group of impressive wrestlers is Kennedy BLADES (USA), who is a 2021 U20 World champion. This is her first season at 76kg, and she is already showing she’s a force, winning the Ibrahim Moustafa, a UWW Ranking Series event.

Yanet SOVERO (PER)Yanet SOVERO (PER) will wrestle at her 17th Pan-Am event. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)

Sovero entering 17th senior Pan-Am event

At 40 years old, Yanet SOVERO (PER) is registered to compete in her 17th senior Pan-American event. Her first continental tournament was in 2002, where she earned silver. During her Pan-Am career, Sovero is a 2020 champion, six-time finalist and nine-time medalist. Her hardware totals one gold, five silvers and four bronzes. She has also wrestled in four World Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games.


USA runs through Pan-Ams with nine golds

By Vinay Siwach

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (May 6) -- There was little doubt that the USA will dominate the final day of the Pan-American Championships in Buenos Aires. And barring one weight class out of the eight in action Saturday, wrestlers from the US won gold medals.

The gold rush began with World Championships silver medalist Thomas GILMAN (USA) defending his 57kg Pan-Am title. In a dominating performance in the final, he defeated Darian CRUZ (PUR) 10-0. In his three bouts, Gilman outscored his opponents 32-0 and showed why he is considered one of the best wrestlers in his category.

John DIAKOMIHALIS (USA)John DIAKOMIHALIS (USA) won the 65kg gold medal. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Apart from Gilman, two other World Championships silver medalists won gold on Saturday.

John DIAKOMIHALIS (USA) was up against two-time world medalist Alejandro VALDES (CUB) in the 65kg final and dug deep to post a 4-1 victory, claiming the title. Both wrestlers traded passivities but Diakomihalis managed to score a takedown for two points late in the final which Valdes challenged but lost.

In the semifinals, Diakomihalis was in deep trouble as Agustin DESTRIBATS (ARG) led 7-7 on criteria. But he shot a double and after a little struggle, managed to lift Destribats on his shoulders before landing him out of the zone to score a point and win a thrilling bout.

At 70kg, Zain RETHERFORD (USA) made no mistakes in his run to the gold medal. In the final against Connor QUINTON (CAN), Retherford won the match via fall.

Kyle DAKE (USA)Kyle DAKE (USA) defended his 74kg Pan-Am title. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Two world champions from the USA added more gold medals to the country's tally as Kyle DAKE (USA) and Kyle SNYDER (USA) won the 74kg and 97kg weight classes respectively.

Outscoring his opponents 40-0 in four bouts, Dake put on a commanding performance at 74kg and defeated Franklin GOMEZ (PUR) 10-0 to defend his title. Even in 2022, Dake defeated Gomez to win gold.

Snyder was a little less dominant in his three bouts but still got the job done, defending his Pan-Am title at 97kg which he won in 2022. He defeated Arturo Silot TORRES (CUB) 14-3 to win the gold medal.

In a round-robin 61kg bracket, Vitali ARUJAU (USA) won the gold medal as he won all four of his bouts with ease. Jason LUNEAU (CAN) was the only wrestler to score a point against Arujau who still won the Round 2 bout 14-4. In the decisive clash, Arujau defeated Joseph SILVA (PUR) 11-0 to confirm his gold.

Winning the ninth gold medal out of 10 for the USA was 24-year-old Dominique BRADLEY (USA). He faced Jose ROBERTTI (VEN) in the final and pulled off a close 2-1 victory to clinch his third Pan-Am title, six years since he won the second.

Yurieski TORREBLANCA (CUB)Yurieski TORREBLANCA (CUB) was the only non-USA champion in freestyle. (Photo: UWW / Kadir Caliskan)

Torreblanca denies

Yurieski TORREBLANCA (CUB) defeated Mark HALL (USA) in the semifinal, denying the USA a clean sweep of the gold medals. He went on to win the gold after defeating Alexander MOORE (CAN) in the 86kg final. Moore tried finding a way to score on Torreblanca but fell short as the Cuban won the gold 5-1.


GOLD: Thomas GILMAN (USA) df. Darian CRUZ (PUR), 10-0

BRONZE: Santiago CHAVECO (CUB) df. Hernan ALMENDRA (ARG), 8-3


GOLD: John DIAKOMIHALIS (USA) df. Alejandro VALDES (CUB), 4-1

BRONZE: Sebastian RIVERA (PUR) df. Albaro CAMACHO (DOM), 9-2

GOLD: Zain RETHERFORD (USA) df. Connor QUINTON (CAN), via fall

BRONZE: Mauricio LOVERA (ARG) df. Vinicius DA SILVA JOAQUIM (BRA), 6-4

GOLD: Kyle DAKE (USA) df. Franklin GOMEZ (PUR), 10-0

BRONZE: Cesar ALVAN (BRA) df. Anthony CHIRINOS (VEN), 4-2
BRONZE: Franklin MAREN (CUB) df. Adam THOMSON (CAN), 4-3

GOLD: Yurieski TORREBLANCA (CUB) df. Alexander MOORE (CAN), 5-1

BRONZE: Mark HALL (USA) df. Bruno NICOLETTI (BRA), 11-0

GOLD: Kyle SNYDER (USA) df. Arturo SILOT TORRES (CUB), 14-3

BRONZE: Nishan Preet RANDHAWA (CAN) df. Ricardo BAEZ (ARG), 5-1
BRONZE: Luis PEREZ SOSA (DOM) df. Maxwell LACEY (CRC), via fall

GOLD: Dominique BRADLEY (USA) df. Jose DIAZ ROBERTTI (VEN), 2-1

BRONZE: Catriel MURIEL (ARG) df. Elison GARCIA (DOM), 5-2
BRONZE: Aaron JOHNSON (JAM) df. Reineris SALAS (CUB), via inj. def.