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US men’s freestyle wrestlers grab five golds, team title at Pan Am Championships

US men's freestyle team finds success at 2014 Pan American Championships
US men's freestyle team finds success at 2014 Pan American Championships
Logo courtesy 2014 Pan American Championships website, photo courtesy of USA Wrestling, both used with permission

The U.S. men’s freestyle wrestling squad won five gold and three bronze medals – along with the overall team title – at the 2014 Pan American Championships in Mexico City Thursday.

Wrestlers who garnered gold for the US: Jordan Burroughs, Zach Sanders, Andrew Hochstrasser, Hunter Stieber, and Zach Rey. Bronze medalists for Team USA include Frank Molinaro, Clayton Foster, and Deron Winn.

The US men’s freestyle team compiled a perfect 8-0 record in the medal round, a major factor in the squad winning the team title, with 74 points. In a close battle, Canada was second with 50 points, while Cuba, just one point behind, placed third.

Good as gold, times five

Burroughs, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and two-time World champion, defeated Cuba’s Livan Lopez, a 2013 World silver medalist and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist at 66 kilos/145.5 pounds, to garner gold at 74 kilos/163 pounds. The former two-time NCAA champ for University of Nebraska – who joined the Cornhusker coaching staff just last week – was named Outstanding Wrestler for the event.

Sanders, an NCAA All-American for the University of Minnesota, came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Cuba’s Alfredo Cisnero 3-2 in the finals at 57 kilos/125.5 pounds.

Hochstrasser pinned down gold at 61 kilos/134 pounds. The 2011 NCAA finalist for Boise State put Canada’s Michael Asseltine in a cradle before scoring a fall early in the second period.

Stieber, an Ohio State All-American, defeated Puerto Rico’s Pedro Soto 4-1 in the 70 kilos/154 pound finals.

Rey scored a convincing 10-0 technical fall over Jose Malaquia Encarnacion of the Dominican Republic in gold-medal match at 125 kilos/275 pounds. The former Lehigh big man won the heavyweight title at the 2011 NCAAs.

A trio of bronze

Molinaro, 2012 NCAA champ for Penn State nicknamed “Frank the Tank” for his impressive physique and dominating wrestling style, rolled up an 8-0 lead before pinning Peru’s Abel Gerald Herrera in the bronze-medal match at 65 kilos/143 pounds.

Foster earned a quick 10-0 technical fall over Adrian Antoine Jaoude of Brazil to claim a bronze medal at 86 kilos/187 pounds. Foster was a two-time NCAA All-American at Oklahoma State.

Winn won bronze at 97 kilos/213 pounds in a come-from-behind win to defeat Canada’s Ali Al-Rekabi, 8-5. The former National Junior College champ for St. Louis-Meremac overcame a 4-2 deficit.

Team USA coach Joel Greenlee – who is also head wrestling coach at Ohio University – was pleased with his squad’s performance in Mexico City.

“We wrestled extremely well," Greenlee said. "We came here to win medals and we're going home with eight. Jordan Burroughs winning the OW by beating an Olympic bronze medalist and World silver medalist was a great way to end a good day for team USA."

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