USA Greco

USA with 5 in Semifinals at Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier

alex sancho, 2024 pan american olympic games qualifier
Alex Sancho -- Photo: Tony Rotundo

As the 2024 Pan-American Olympic Qualifier heads into its all-important semifinal round, Team USA’s goal of departing from Mexico with all six weight categories secured for the Paris Games will not be reached. However, five of the nation’s competitors still have an opportunity to achieve the principle objective later this evening. 

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Alex Sancho (67 kg, Army/WCAP), Kamal Bey (77 kg, Army/WCAP), Spencer Woods (87 kg, Army/WCAP), Alan Vera (97 kg, NYAC), and Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, Sunkist) all won matches in the first session, with Schultz the lone American to earn two victories (which occurred in round-robin pool competition). Ildar Hafizov (60 kg, Army/WCAP) was defeated in the quarterfinal by Kevin De Armas Rodriguez (CUB) 7-3. Hafizov had defeated De Armas by the same score in the Pan-Am Games final in November. 

Woods and Vera both sailed through their opening round contests. Woods pinned Alfonso Ariel Andres while Vera VSU’ed Max Madrid DeLeon (DOM). Schultz flattened both of his antagonists, Jorawar Dhinsa (CAN) and Eduard Soghomonyan (BRA), respectively. 

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Bey had a bye to the quarterfinal where he faced ’14 World Champion/multiple-time medalist Arsen Julfalakyan. Originally from Armenia, Julfalakyan is competing this year for Armenia. In the first period, Bey received the passivity/par terre chance and, amid his lift attempt, Julfalakyan was penalized for a leg foul. After a reset, Bey scored another point from a step-out and walked into the break up 4-0. Julfalakyan had his own passivity chance to get a point back in the second period, and a step-out from his par terre lift attempt resulted in the match’s final point scored. 

De Armas built a 7-0 lead against Hafizov in the first period following a head-and-arm lift that was coupled with a leg foul on the American. The second period saw Hafizov make a dent by leveraging the passivity/par terre to gain exposure with a high-gut lift. Still down by four, he made successive attempts to try and score, but each time he was thwarted by the rigidly-defensive De Armas. 

The semifinals (known also as the “Olympic Qualification round”) are scheduled for 7:30pm local time in Acapulco (8:30pm ET). Those in the US may watch the broadcast live on FLOWrestling. Below the results from the first session are the USA pairings for the semifinal round. 

2024 Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier

February 28 — Acapulco, MEX

60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP)
LOSS Kevin De Armas Rodriguez (CUB) 7-3

67 kg: Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP)
WON Luis Centeno Rodriguez (CHI) 4-0

77 kg: Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP)
WON Arsen Julfalakyan (ARG) 4-2

87 kg: Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP)
WON Alfonso Ariel Andres (HON) via fall

97 kg: Alan Vera (NYAC)
WON Max Madrid DeLeon (DOM) 10-0, TF

130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist)
WON Jorawar Dhinsa (CAN) via fall
WON Eduard Soghomonyan (BRA) via fall

*USA must win to qualify weight class for ’24 Olympics

67 kg: Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) vs. Nestor Almanza (CHI)
77 kg: Kamal Bey (Army/WCAP) vs. Jair Cuero Munoz (COL)
87 kg: Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP) vs. Daniel Gregrorich Hechavarria (CUB)
97 kg: Alan Vera (NYAC) vs. Luillys Perez Mora (VEN)
130 kg: Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) vs. Moise Perez Hellburg (VEN)

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Listen to “5PM57: Kamal Bey and David Stepanyan” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM56: Rich Carlson and Spencer Woods” on Spreaker.

Listen to “5PM55: Recapping Final X with Dennis Hall with words from Koontz, Braunagel and Hafizov” on Spreaker.

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