Only three American Greco-Roman athletes remained at the start of Day 2 in Argentina, and two of the three will be battling for gold.
2017 Junior World Champion Kamal Bey (77 kg, Sunkist, world no. 9) blew the doors off of his first two opponents Friday morning but had to grit out his semifinal match a little more than he is accustomed to, though he’ll take the result. Cheney Haight (82 kg, NYAC), who keeps proving that age isn’t a factor, is on pace for his third Pan Am Championships title after having only one match thanks to operating within a three-man round-robin bracket.
The first session of Day 2 at the 2019 Pan American Championships began at 10:00am local time (9:00am ET) and was broadcast live in the US on Trackwrestling.
Bey had no trouble finishing off Enrique Cuero Ortiz (ECU) with a bombastic reverse lift, and even broke out a pair of nifty arm spins — the latter of which was a beautiful counter — to knock out Juan Angel Escobar, one of Mexico’s toughest competitors. In the semifinal, Bey got off to a fast start by throwing David Elia Choc Huoc (GUA) and appeared on his way to another quick win. But after carrying a 5-1 advantage into the second, Bey gave up a step-out and then a two-point caution for finger-grabbing. He still asserted control and easily deflected Choc Huoc’s advances to eventually emerge with a 5-3 decision.
By advancing to the final, where he will face Cuba’s Yosvanys Pena Flores, Bey qualified 77 kilograms for the United States ahead of the Pan Am Games, set for later this summer.
Patrick Martinez (87 kg, NYAC) stands as the last US athlete in need of qualifying for those aforementioned Games and he still has a shot. Martinez won a controlling yet caution-filled bout against Lesyan Cousin Otomuro (JAM) to begin his day, and then bullied Ronisson Brandao Santiago (BRA) en-route to a 7-0 shutout. The semis offered a step-up in difficulty — Luis Avendano Rojas of Venezuela, who won this event a year ago at 82 kilos.
Martinez gave up an early step-out before getting dinged for passive. Avendano went for a lift that at first didn’t yield points, but was corrected via challenge, putting Martinez in a 4-0 hole entering the second period. He battled hard for position, did Martinez, but Avendano played it defensive and opportunities were scarce. Ultimately, it was a frustrating loss but not one that ends Martinez’s chances at either a medal or qualification.
Martinez is already in the bronze round opposite Phillip Barreiro (CAN). Should he triumph, it will give the US its ninth medal from the event.
Haight couldn’t have been more dominant if he tried. He drew first blood with one of his patented arm throws and polished off Andres Barres Machado (BRA) by cranking a front headlock for more points before going back to the well once more and holding Machado down for the fall. Haight will next meet up with Carlos Espinoza Castro (PER) in the gold medal match.
The medal rounds are slated to begin at 5:00pm (4:00pm ET) and can be viewed live in the US on Trackwrestling (subscription required).
2019 Pan American Championships
April 18th-19th — Buenos Aires, Argentina
TEAM USA DAY 2 RESULTS
Kamal Bey (Sunkist)
WON Enrique Cuero Ortiz (ECU) 8-0, TF
WON Juan Angel Escobar (MEX) 8-0, TF
WON David Elia Choc Huoc (GUA) 5-3
vs. Yosvanys Pena Flores (CUB)
Cheney Haight (NYAC)
WON Andres Barres Machado (BRA) via fall
vs. Carlos Espinoza Castro (PER)
Patrick Martinez (NYAC)
WON Lesyan Cousin Otomuro (JAM) 6-1
WON Ronisson Brandao Santiago (BRA) 7-0
LOSS Luis Avendano Rojas (VEN) 4-0
vs. Phillip Barreiro (CAN)