Smith wins gold on opening day of Pan American Games

Pat Smith with the American flag after winning gold at the Pan American Games (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

LIMA, Peru -- Pat Smith came through to win gold in Greco-Roman on the opening day of the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Smith, a two-time World Team member, was one of five American Greco-Roman wrestlers to compete on Wednesday. Three others won medals. G'Angelo Hancock (97 kilograms) claimed a silver, while Ildar Hafizov (60 kilograms) and Ellis Coleman (67 kilograms) won bronze. Joe Rau (87 kilograms) lost in the bronze-medal match.

Smith faced Olympian Wuilexis Rivas of Venezuela in the gold-medal match at 77 kilograms. Rivas scored first off an arm throw and led 2-0 at the break. But Smith kept the pressure on in the second period. He found a takedown midway through the period and then added a step out for a 3-2 victory.

Earlier in the day, Smith picked up victories over Wair Cuero Munoz of Colombia (4-1)
and Emanuel Benitez Castro of Mexico (4-1).

Hancock, a 2016 Junior world bronze medalist and three-time World Team member, fell in the finals at 97 kilograms to Gabriel Rosillo Kindelan of Cuba 7-2. The two faced off in April in the finals of the Pan Am Championships, with Kindelan winning by 10-2 technical superiority.

On Wednesday, Hancock jumped out to a 2-0 lead after scoring with two step outs. Kindelan came back strong in the second period, scoring with a four-point throw to grab the lead before adding two step outs and an additional point off a failed challenge.

Hancock did not surrender a point in his two matches leading up to the finals, picking up a pair of technical superiorities in a combined time of one minute and 34 seconds. He opened with a 9-0 victory over Thomas Barreiro of Canada before getting a 10-0 win over Kevin Mejia Castillo of Honduras.

Ildar Hafizov gets his hand raised after winning his bronze-medal match at 60 kilograms (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

Hafizov earned his bronze at 60 kilograms with a 7-2 win over 2015 Junior Pan American champion Emilio Perez Alonzo from Mexico. After scoring a point off a passivity, Hafizov used three gut wrenches to go up 7-0. Perez would get on the board with a takedown in the second period, but that was all he would score.

Hafizov dropped his first match of the day to two-time Pan Am bronze medalist Ditcher Toro Castenada of Colombia

Ellis Coleman captured a bronze medal at 67 kilograms (Photo/Tony Rotundo,

Coleman captured his bronze at 67 kilograms with a second-period fall over 2017 Pan Am silver medalist Luis De Leon of Dominican Republic. De Leon scored the only point in the first period off a step out. In the second period, Coleman countered a duck-under and put De Leon on his back for the fall.

Coleman's lone loss came in the semifinals to 2016 Olympic champion Ismael Borrero Molina of Cuba, which came after beating Joilson De Brito Ramos of Brazil by fall.

Rau finished the day with a 1-2 record at 87 kilograms, losing in in the bronze-medal match to 2018 U23 World silver medalist Daniel Gregorich of Cuba 8-2. In the first session, Rau notched a win over Ricardo Cardenas Esquen of Peru 5-3 before losing 8-0 to Luis Avendano Rojas of Venezuela.

On Thursday, Adam Coon (130 kilograms) will compete in Greco-Roman. Whitney Conder (50 kilograms), Sarah Hildebrandt (53 kilograms) and Jenna Burkert (57 kilograms) will open the women's wrestling competition. Action is set to begin at 10 a.m. CT.


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