Home-nation representative Yudari SANCHEZ (CUB) was magnificent on the first day of women’s wrestling at the Granma Y Cerro Pelado, earning three early-stoppage wins at 68 KG.
It was a quick, first-period fall over Saidy Loena CHAVEZ (HON) for Sanchez to begin the day. She then reeled off technical fall victories over Soleimy CORABALLO (VEN) and Yariannys MARIN (CUB) to position herself a single win away from the gold medal.
Sanchez, a junior world silver medalist and U23 world bronze medalist last year, takes on Diana MIRANDA (MEX) in tomorrow afternoon’s session. Miranda was a fifth-place finisher at the 2015 World Championships and will no doubt be a tough out for Sanchez.
Montero was upset in her last-of-four round-robin matches by Maria FERNANDA (CUB), 4-1.
Montero, a recent Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix bronze medalist, completed her tournament with a 3-1 record. Both Fernanda and 2016 Pan American bronze medalist Alejandra ROMERO (MEX) can finish 3-1 with wins tomorrow and force criteria to determine the 57 KG champion.
Cuba has two more women who are the only undefeated wrestlers left in their respective round-robin brackets. Returning Cerro Pelado silver medalist Milaimys MARIN (CUB) can take the 76 KG gold with a win over 2017 junior Pan American champion Mabelkis CAPOTE (CUB). Similarly, Hangelen LLANES (CUB) needs a win over 2018 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix bronze medalist and six-time Pan American medalist Yakelin ESTORNELLA (CUB) to finish unscathed.
The remaining four weight classes, while also round-robin in nature, will feature pseudo gold-medal matches between unbeaten women tomorrow.
Two-time Pan American champion and London Olympian Kelsey CAMPBELL (USA) impressed with a pair of shutout wins at 59 KG. Next, she meets up with the talented Dayselis RODRIGUEZ (CUB), winner-take all.
At 53 KG, three-time Pan American bronze medalist Betzabeth Angelica ARGUELLO VILLEGAS (VEN)
seeks perfection against Amanda HERNADEZ (CUB).
Dual Cuba-on-Cuba finals round out the list of gold-medal contenders in women’s wrestling. 2016 junior Pan American champion Yusneylys GUZMAN (CUB) will battle last year’s Cerro Pelado bronze medalist Leanne MENDOZA (CUB) at 59 KG. Lesser known Cubans Yayneli SANZ (CUB) and Laura HERIN (CUB) will vie for the 55 KG crown.
The women’s wrestling day two session will begin at 2 p.m. local time on Tuesday. Complete results and a live stream of all the action can be found at unitedworldwrestling.org.