USA Greco

PAN-AMS DAY 1: Rau Wins Third Title; US Already with Four Champs

joe rau, 2023 pan-am championships
Joe Rau -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

The United States got off to a predictably strong start at the annual continental event on Wednesday with four athletes earning gold.

not all roads lead to gold, jim gruenwald

Day 1 of the 2023 Pan-American Championships began at 10:00am local time from Buenos Aires, Argentina (11:00am ET) and aired live in the US on FLOWrestling.

Dalton Duffield (55 kg, Army/WCAP), Dalton Roberts (60 kg, Army/WCAP), Justus Scott (72 kg, Army/WCAP), and Joe Rau (97 kg, TMWC/IRTC) each stood atop the podium for their respective weight categories to put the US squad in strong position to grab the team title.

Duffield & Roberts

55 kilograms at the Pan-Ams, as has been the story in recent years, was a round-robin bracket. Duffield had two opponents and dusted them both. In Round 1, he summarily thrashed Jose Rodriguez Hernandez (MEX) via fall; in the second round, Duffield threw Axel Gabriel Rolon (ARG) with double overhooks and, after a reset, forced a stoppage when he exploded with a lift that garnered four points.

Operating in the gold-medal match against Jeremy Peralta Gonzalez (ECU) — who on the opposite side of the bracket performed brilliantly prior to the final — Roberts dug right in and began creating insistent motion in the ties. Before long, he was in on Peralta’s body and appeared to have executed a correct throw off the edge. They instead scored the action as a step-out point, and a reset was in order.

One more exchange saw Roberts execute what they call in the US a “Hermann”, which could be described as an inverted arm throw that finishes forward. Four points were awarded to the American, but then a Peralta challenge citing legs erased the haul. After the restart, Roberts chipped back inside and soon angled behind Peralta, in the process trapping his foe’s left arm. Not wishing to waste the opportunity, Roberts kept the arm secured and rolled Peralta the requisite number of times to end the bout at 9-0.

Scott & Rau

The spring surge for Scott continued on Wednesday. Just under a week ago, the ’21 U20 World Team member became a Senior National Champion for the first time. Now he is also a Pan-Am gold medalist. Scott’s bracket was pooled until the semifinal round. Along the way, he downed both Jose Varela Garcia (GUA) and Cole Sanderson (CAN) via tech before recording a similarly lopsided victory against Jesus Guzman Davila (PER). In the final, Scott countered a body attack on the part of Kennedy Moraes Pedrosa (BRA) with an overhook that he used to hip his way to a step-out point. Passivity on Brazil in the second period gave way to the win margin. From top par terre, Scott gutted Moraes twice and carried his points total to the finish line for the 6-2 decision.

Three-time National champ/multi-time World Team member Rau did not have a match in the finals, as longtime Honduran competitor Kevin Mejia Castillo (HON) had bowed out due to injury. Rau had by then already conducted some serious business just to reach the final. In the opening round, he capitalized on the first-period passive to gutwrench ’16 Olympian Yurisandy Hernandez Rios of Cuba to eventually prevail 5-1. Hernandez, 33, had previously in his career competed at 75 kilograms and had fallen on a few occasions to two-time World bronze/NMU head coach Andy Bisek (including at the ’16 Rio Games).

Luillys Perez Mora (VEN) was next for Rau. A tight match. Early in the first period, Rau had gotten behind Perez Mora for an apparent takedown/gut combo to engineer a 4-0 lead; but following a challenge from Venezuela, the score was adjusted to 2-0. Perez Mora was gifted a passive point in the second but Rau remained upright from then on and walked away the 2-1 winner. The semifinal round was devoid of drama. The passivity/par terre in the first period allowed Rau to jump ahead of Carlos Adames Palmer (DOM) 5-0. Later in the bout, a step-out point and a takedown/turn sequence represented the finishing touches for Rau as he delivered a crisp 8-0 VSU. With the win, Illinois native Rau became a Pan-American Championships gold for the third time in his career (’15, ’20, ’23).

Perez & Longendyke

Newly-crowned US Open champ Robert Perez III (67 kg, Sunkist), was paired in his bracket with ’21 Olympian/’22 Pan-Am gold Julian Horta Acevedo (COL) and was one the wrong end of an 8-0 VSU. Acevedo, obviously one of the tournament’s strongest 67 kg entrants, was edged via criteria in the quarterfinal by Nestor Almanza Truyol (CHI), which eliminated Perez from possible contention for bronze through the repechage.

Longendyke, Pan-Am runner-up in ’21, kicked off his second appearance in the event by running over Leo Santana Heredia (DOM) but was then ousted by two-time World bronze Oscar Pino Hinds of Cuba. It was not a step down in competition for Longendyke in the bronze round, as he faced highly-decorated Yasmany Acosta Fernandez (CHL) and fell 8-0.


Action picks back up again on Thursday morning with three more Americans vying for titles: four-time National champ Kamal Bey (77 kg, Army/WCAP), two-timer Spencer Woods (82 kg, Army/WCAP), and reigning two-time World Team member Alan Vera (87 kg, NYAC). FLOWrestling will carry the broadcast in the US beginning at 10:00am ET.

77 kg: Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP)
vs. Jair Cuero Munoz (COL)

82 kg: Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP)
vs. John Yeats (CAN)

87 kg: Alan Vera (NYAC)
vs. winner of Daniel Vincente Gomez (MEX) and Pool Edinson Ambrocia Greifo (PER)

2023 Pan-American Championships

May 3-4 — Buenos Aires, ARG


55 kg: Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP) GOLD
WON Jose Rodriguez Hernandez (MEX) via fall
WON Axel Gabriel Rolon (ARG) 9-0, TF

60 kg: Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP) —  GOLD
WON Raiber Rodriguez Orozco (VEN) 9-0, TF
WON Alexis Rodriguez Hernandez (MEX) 8-0, TF
WON Jeremy Peralta Gonzalez (ECU) 9-0, TF

67 kg: Robert Perez III (Sunkist) — 12th
LOSS Julian Horta Acevedo (COL) 8-0, TF

72 kg: Justus Scott (Army/WCAP) — GOLD
WON Jose Varela Garcia (GUA) 9-1, TF
WON Cole Sanderson (CAN) 9-0, TF
WON Jesus Guzman Davila (PER) 9-0, TF
WON Kennedy Moraes Pedrosa (BRA) 6-2

97 kg: Joe Rau (TMWC/IRTC) — GOLD
WON Yurisandy Hernandez Rios (CUB) 5-1
WON Luillys Perez Mora (VEN) 2-1
WON Carlos Adames Palmer (DOM) 8-0, TF
WON Kevin Mejia Castillo (HON) via injury default

130 kg: Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm) — 5th
WON Leo Santana Heredia (DOM) via fall
LOSS Oscar Pino Hinds (CUB) 9-0, TF
LOSS Yasmany Acosta Fernandez (CHI)

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