For the United States, the 2023 Pan-American Championships produced more than a victory over Cuba in the team standings thanks to the roster’s six individual gold medalists. The event also provided an opportunity for athletes to acquire points associated with United World Wrestling’s “Ranking Series” system that will inform seeding for the World Championships in September.
Each of the nine US competitors (63 kilograms was not contested) earned “Ranking Series” points. Several athletes — led by tournament champs Dalton Duffield (55 kg), Dalton Roberts (60 kg), and Spencer Woods (82 kg) — arrived in Buenos Aires having previously amassed point values and therefore saw increases in their respective tallies.
UWW’s “Ranking Series” point system has received updates to its deployment ever since its inception for the ’17-’18 season. Point values have always been availed for athletes at select events based on placement and bracket size; but originally, points were either in single or double digits, and athletes who placed low in ranking events were awarded either nominal points or none at all. Fast-forward to the past two seasons, and point values are now distributed in the thousands and there are amounts accessible for athletes at most events regardless of placement.
Another change has of course been seeding relative to World Championship events. UWW had for the first time begun seeding World brackets (#1 through #4, tantamount to simple bracket separation aimed at the avoidance of various World/Olympic stars colliding too early in the tournament, a subjective issue and not an objective one). The global sanctioning body’s progressive ranking system now seeds #1 to #8.
Implications for USA
As of the post-Pan-Am Championships UWW ranking update, only one athlete currently resides in the top-8, two-time 5PM Athlete of the Year Max Nowry (#7 at 55 kg). The next highest-ranked competitor is Roberts, whose gold from Wednesday has elevated him to #14. Duffield occupies the #16 slot at 55 kg, three-time World Team member/’20 Olympian Ildar Hafizov (60 kg, Army/WCAP) is at #18, as is ’22 World Team member/’21 Junior World bronze Braxton Amos (97 kg, Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC).
Two freshly-minted Senior Open champions from last week who were on the Pan-Am squad, Robert Perez III (67 kg, Sunkist) and Justus Scott (72 kg, Army/WCAP), earned ranking points for the first time in their careers due to their performances in Argentina, with Scott making quite the impact by winning his bracket and coming away with 10,000 points, good for #20 on UWW’s list.
There are two more United World Wrestling “Ranking Series” events remaining in ’23. Early next month is the Kaba Uulu Kozhomkul & Raatbek Sanatbaev in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (June 1-4) followed by the Hungarian Grand Prix in July (13-16). Kyrgyzstan will not be an option for those who participate at Final X: Newark (June 10), which would set Hungary as the last avenue US World Team members have to potentially improve their ranking positions enough to garner a seed at the Worlds in September.
There are More
Below are the nine American Greco-Roman wrestlers from the ’23 Pan-American Championships along with their placings from the tournament, current UWW points, and commensurate ranking.
*’23 US National Champion/qualified for Final X
55 kg: Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP) — 1st place (9,000, #16)
60 kg: *Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP) — 1st place (21, 520, #14)
67 kg: *Robert Perez III (Sunkist) — 12th place (3,800, #57)
72 kg: *Justus Scott (Army/WCAP) — 1st place (10,000, #20)
77 kg: *Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) — 1st place (13,000, #22)
82 kg: *Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP) — 1st place (9,000, #21)
87 kg: *Alan Vera (NYAC) — 3rd place (10,000, #32)
97 kg: *Joe Rau (NYAC/IRTC) — 1st place (10,000, #27)
130 kg: Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm) — 5th place (5,000, #38)
As mentioned, the United States boasts other athletes ranked by United World Wrestling aside from those who competed in the recently-concluded Pan-American Championships. Nine more, to be precise, for a total of 18.
55 kg: Max Nowry — 25,000, #7
60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) — 14,300, #18
63 kg: Sammy Jones (Sunkist/CTT) — 5,480, #33
67 kg: Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) — 14,800, #17
72 kg: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) — 5,075, #47
72 kg: Britton Holmes (Army/WCAP) — 5,050, #47
97 kg: Braxton Amos (Sunkist/Wisconsin RTC) — 14,300, #18
130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) — 5,800, #32
130 kg: Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC) — 5,100, #35
Ultimately, rankings and point values for this season primarily affect wrestlers who go on to represent the United States at the World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. UWW’s Ranking Series events have taken on more of a priority internationally as of late given that this year’s Senior World tournament will deliver the first opportunity nations have to qualify weight categories for the ’24 Paris Olympics.
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