By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling
Three U.S. Greco-Roman stars won gold medals and the USA won the team title at the Pan American Championships on Sunday night at the Dr. Pepper Arena. Team USA had seven total medals, including a silver and three bronze medals
Winning the Pan American Championships for the second year in a row was Patrick Smith (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm), who defeated Jair Cuero Munoz of Colombia, 2-2 in the 71 kg/156 lbs. finals. Cuero led 2-0 on a second period gut wrench, but Smith blocked a Cuero throw for a two-point takedown and held on to the win by scoring the last point. Cuero is a previous two-time Pan American bronze medalist.
“It was a little closer than I wanted it to be but I kept pushing the pace and stayed composed, stuck to my stuff and kept my hips in. I went after him constantly and it ended up working out. It was a little grittier than I wanted it to be but that’s alright. Sometimes you got to do that. I think the big takeaway today was to stay after my stuff no matter what the score is and keep trying to score points constantly because things are going to happen. This is a good practice tournament for the Olympic Trials. You don’t know what’s going to happen there,” said Smith.
Photo by Stuart Spears
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