USA Greco

LET’S HIT IT: First-Round Pairings for USA at Pan Am Olympic Qualifier

Patrick Smith, Nikola Petrov Cup
Photo: Reggie Baca

The draws for USA Greco-Roman athletes at tomorrow’s Pan-American Olympic Qualifier in Ottawa, Canada have just been revealed.

60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) vs. Andres Montano Arroyo (ECU) Round of 16

Hafizov will start off in the round-of-16 opposite one of his bracket’s biggest threats, 2016 Olympian and multi-time Pan Am Championships gold Montano Arroyo. Considered the class of the field along with Luis Orta Sanchez (CUB), Montano Arroyo is sharp and aggressive — but not as technically fluent as Hafizov. The advantage, if there is one for the American, is that Hafizov would have (on paper) an easier time in the quarterfinals and onward.

Who Hafizov could face next:

Should Hafizov advance to the quarterfinal, he will meet the winner of Adam McFayden (CAN) and Marat Garipov (BRA). Hafizov would be the favorite against either competitor.

67 kg: Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP, world #19, #2 seed) BYE

Who Sancho will face next:

Sancho will greet whoever comes out of the round-of-16 matchup between Cristobal Torres Nunez (CHL) and Enyer Feliciano (DOM).

77 kg: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm, world #18) vs. John Yeats (CAN) Quarterfinal

Yeats is likely not unfamiliar to many American fans, as he has appeared in stateside events previously to various degrees of success. He is tough and serviceable, but Smith is ahead in the skills department with regards to each major phase of the game.

Who Smith could face next:

If Smith makes it to the semifinal, he will have either Yosvanys Pena Flores (CUB) or Jair Cuero Munoz (COL). Smith knows both opponents exceedingly well. He went 1-1 against Pena last week and defeated Cuero Munoz in the semifinal via criteria. Smith also decisioned Cuero Munoz last year in the quarters of the Pan Am Games.

87 kg: Joe Rau (87 kg, TMWC/Chicago RTC, world #7, #2 seed) BYE

Who Rau will face next:

Rau, like Sancho, will start in the quarterfinal — and like Smith, is guaranteed to have an athlete he has battled before. In this case, it will either be Luis Avendano Rojas (VEN) or Carlos Jaramillo (COL). Avendano grabbed an odd tech against Rau in the Pan Am Games, and then Rau beat the brakes off him last week in his first match. The Chicagoan eventually went on to shut out Jaramillo in the final.

97 kg: G’Angelo Hancock (Sunkist, world #7, #1 seed) — POOL

Hancock’s bracket is pooled, and he sits in Group A along with Thomas Barreiro (CAN), Luillys Perez Mora (VEN), and Luis Rivera (MEX). Hancock has gotten past Barreiro several times before, and scored a 3-0 decision against Perez Mora last week. Hancock has to place in the top-2 of his pool; then there will be a cross-bracket (#1 vs. #2 from each pool). Winners of the cross-bracket bouts go to the finals.

130 kg: Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen, world #6, #2 seed) vs. Yasmani Acosta Fernandez (CHL) Quarterfinal

’17 World bronze Acosta Fernandez has long been pegged as Coon’s potentially biggest obstacle en-route to qualification in Ottawa, and here it all is as a first-round matchup — harkening back to the ’19 Pan Am Games. In their bout last summer, Acosta Fernandez threw Coon huge and won via tech. History does not have to repeat itself. Coon has progressed impressively since then and can press Acosta in the latter stages of the bout. Which might be key.

Who Coon could face next:

If Coon does get past Acosta, his road to qualification smoothes out enormously. Waiting for him in the semifinal would be either Bradley Hildenbrandt (CAN) or Pan Am Games bronze Leo Santana Heredia (DOM).

According to the official schedule of the Pan Am Olympic Qualifier, wrestling is slated to begin at 10:30am with semifinals rolling out at around 1:00pm (all times ET). Finals are to follow at 5:00pm. This tournament will be run in the traditional single-day format.

Semifinal victors qualify their weight categories on behalf of their nations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

US fans can stream the action live on Trackwrestling.com (subscription required).

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