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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    2022 Pan-American Championships: By the Numbers

    Sarah Hildebrandt at the 2022 Pan-American Championships (Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    The 2022 Pan American Championships finished up last weekend, and Team USA dominated as expected. Out of a possible 30 gold medals across all three styles, the team brought home 17 and added another three silver and four bronze medals. Host nation Mexico had a surprisingly strong result with one gold medal and 14 overall medals. They finished second in the Greco Roman team score ahead of Cuba and behind only Team USA.

    Due to their overall dominant performance, Team USA also dominated many of the statistical categories. The following looks at the performance of the team and some of the standout performances across all three styles.

    Point Differential

    Sarah Hildebrandt might be the best offensive wrestler in the United States at this point. She regularly racks up the points against international competition. In many cases, one takedown is more than enough for her to implement her par-terre offense and finish bouts. Hildebrandt had three matches at the Pan American Championships. She won all three by 10-0 technical superiority on the way to the tournament title at 50 kg. Her longest bout came in the quarterfinals where Puerto Rico's Shammilka Miranda Diaz lasted 1:19. Thanks to her quick finishes, Hildebrandt averaged 8.91 points per minute, which was the highest of the tournament across all three styles. She allowed zero points and therefore, obviously, had a +8.91 differential. That was also tops across all divisions.

    At 61 kg in men's freestyle, Daton Fix was nearly as dominant. He wrestled three matches in a four-man round-robin bracket and won his first two by superiority and finished his third by fall while holding a 10-0 lead. He finished with a 7.78 points per minute rate and a +7.78 differential.

    The highest point differential from a wrestler outside of Team USA belonged to Kevin Mejia. The Greco specialist won gold at 97 kg. He has previously defeated American G'Angelo Hancock, who was not in the bracket for this event. Mejia dispatched all three of his opponents by 8-0 superiority. Even with the lower point threshold for superiority in Greco, Mejia showed that the style can have a strong statistical performance as he finished with a +6.99 differential.

    Top Five Point Differential Individual Performances

    Sarah Hildebrandt (USA/WFS) +8.91
    Daton Fix (USA/MFS) +7.78
    Jordan Burroughs (USA/MFS) +7.11
    Kevin Mejia (HON/GR) +6.99
    Skylar Grote (USA/WFS) +6.09

    Point Differential by Team

    With four of the top five point differential performances coming from Team USA, it should not be a surprise to see that the same squad had the highest collectively point differential. Team USA finished the event with a +1.91 differential across all three styles. Men's freestyle was by far the most dominant as they finished with a +3.79 differential, but all three styles finished with a positive differential.

    Cuba, who did not bring many of their best competitors and dealt with some off-the-mat issues, had the second highest point differential at +0.65. Men's freestyle was also their best style in terms of this metric as they finished with a +1.06 differential.

    Top Five Point Differential Team Performances

    USA +1.91
    Cuba +0.65
    Venezuela +0.27
    Canada +0.10
    Dominican Republic +0.02

    Points per Minute

    Obviously Hildebrandt and Fix were the leaders in terms of this metric as discussed previously. However, it is also important to highlight the performance of veteran Jordan Burroughs. Over the weekend, he picked up his eighth gold medal at the Pan American Games/Championships. He has adjusted nicely to the move up to 79 kg. Burroughs won all four of his matches inside the first period. Three of those victories came via superiority, and he pinned Victor Acosta of Puerto Rico less than two minutes in the match while holding an 8-0 lead. Burroughs' 7.29 points per minute rate was the third highest of the event behind only Hildebrandt and Fix.

    Top Five Points per Minute Performance

    Sarah Hildebrandt 8.91
    Daton Fix 7.78
    Jordan Burroughs 7.29
    Kevin Mejia 6.99
    Luis Miguel Perez Souza 6.25

    Points Allowed per Minute

    At the recent U.S. Open, Jason Nolf was the only competitor in men's freestyle to make it through the tournament without giving up a single point. This past weekend, Five Americans and one other competitor accomplished the same feat. As previously mentioned in the point differential section, Fix, Hildebrandt and Mejia made it through their brackets without allowing a single point. Joining them in the zero-points allowed club are Sam Jones, who won gold at 63 kg in Greco, Skylar Grote, the winner at 72 kg in women's freestyle, and Forrest Molinari, the champion at 65 kg in women's freestyle. Of course, Jones was at a bit of an advantage since he was in a two-person weight class and only needed to best Jose Rodriguez Hernandez, and he scored a 10-0 victory.

    Average Points per Match by Weight

    Cuba's Yaynelis Sanz Verdecia won the women's freestyle 57 kg division with a 5-1 victory over Nittany Lion Wrestling Club representative Jane Valencia (Mexico) in the finals. That six-point match was the lowest scoring bout of the bracket, which featured some wild results. The average match point total for a match in the division was 14.08 points, which was the highest across any weight in all three styles. Outside of the finals match, none of the matches ended with fewer than 10 points on the scoreboard.

    On the men's freestyle side, the highest scoring weight division at 86 kg. The average match point total for the weight was 12.50 points. In the semifinals, eventual champion Zahid Valencia scored a 14-4 superiority victory over Andrew Vera Jackson (Bolivia), while Lazaro Hernandez Luis (Cuba) escaped with a 10-10 criteria victory over Ethan Ramos (Puerto Rico).

    In Greco the highest scoring weight was 60 kg. The average match total was 11.17, and eventual champion Randon Miranda was a great contributor to this. He scored 11, 7, 8 and 12 points respectively on his way to the title. His 20-point match against Samuel Gurria Vigueras (Mexico) in the finals was tied for the highest scoring Greco match of the tournament.

    Highest Scoring Match

    While Miranda took part in the highest scoring match in Greco, the highest scoring match of the tournament actually came in women's freestyle in the 59 kg division. American Xochitl Mota Pettis put herself on the map with a second-place performance at Senior Nationals and since then has continued to shine as a top prospect in women's freestyle. She was probably hoping for a better result this past weekend as she dropped both of her matches. However, Mota Pettis was true to herself and took part in the highest scoring match of the tournament.

    She dropped a 19-8 match against Amyelli Jessel Rodhas of Mexico in the first round of the round-robin tournament. In the match, Mota Pettis got out to an early lead and held a 6-0 edge less than a minute into the match. Rojas took over with a pair of four-point throws and went to the break with a 9-8 lead. The second period belonged to the Mexican competitor as she scored all 10 points and finished the superiority victory with 28 seconds left in the bout.

    Match Results by Weight

    There did not seem to be a relationship between size and finishing rate at the Pan American Championships. Style also did not seem to play a significant factor. Both 67 kg Greco and 68 kg women's freestyle had the highest percentage of matches to go the full distance (67%). However, the different types of finish seemed to be entirely dependent on the individual competitors.

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