Ismael BORRERO MOLINA (CUB) won the 2013 Pan Am Championships up at 60kg. With the weight changes FILA introduced after last year’s World Championships, it’s enabled a bit of a shift for some athletes and Borrero Molina is one of those athletes. He finished 11th at the World Championships last season. Borrero Molina also won the event at 60kg in 2012. His top challenger will be Spenser MANGO (USA). Mango’s represented the U.S. on the last seven World and Olympic teams and was fifth in the World in 2013. Surprisingly, this will only be Mango’s second Pan Am appearance – he was bronze in 2009 at 60kg.
Jairo Luis MEDINA GARCIA (VEN) was a bronze medalist in last year’s event at 55kg and he’ll compete at 59kg. He finished 26th at last year’s World Championships. Andres MONTANO ARROYO (ECU) was the gold medalist at the South American Games in March and is coming off a solid silver-medal performance at the Grand Prix of Spain two weeks ago. Arroyo was also a silver medalist at the Granma Cup in Cuba back in February. Juan Carlos LOPEZ ASPRILLA (COL) and Jose Luis MAGALLANES DURAN (PER) both medaled at the South American Games. Diego ROMANELLI (BRA) was a silver medalist at 60kg in 2013 at the Pan Am Championships.
Miguel MARTINEZ (CUB) won the gold medal at the 2013 Granma Cup at the weight and he’ll be another strong Cuban competitor. Luis LIENDO (VEN) has had a strong career finishing fifth at the 2011 World Championships and gold at the South American Games in 2013.
Bryce SADDORIS (USA) is making his first appearance at the Pan Am Championships. The U.S. World Team Trials runner-up finished as a silver medalist in January’s Dave Schultz Memorial International. Keep an eye on Jair CUREO MUNOZ (COL). He was a silver medalist at the South American Games and was a 2013 Pan Am Junior gold medalist last year. Francisco ENCARNACION (DOM) has represented the Dominican Republic on three senior-level World Championship teams and has medaled five times at the Pan American level. It’ll be a new weight class for Encarnacion, who’s spent most of his career below 60kg.
At the non-Olympic weight of 71kg, the U.S. will enter 2012 Olympian and 2011 Junior World bronze medalist Ellis COLEMAN (USA). Coleman was a late replacement at 66kg at the 2013 World Championships for injured Justin Lester. Some nations are opting not to compete at the non-Olympic weights, so the preliminary entry list is pretty thin prior to competition. Of those who are pre-registered for the weight class are Joaquin MARTINEZ (VEN) and David CHOC HUOC (GUA). Neither have significant international experience.
Andy BISEK (USA) has been on a roll in 2014. Since competing at the 2013 World Championships in Budapest, Bisek has won four international gold medals, taking top honors at the Granma Cup in Cuba, two U.S. competitions (Dave Schultz and NYAC) and the Haavisto Cup in Finland. Bisek’s gold at Granma Cup saw him outplace Julio BASTIDA MENDOZA (CUB). Bastida Mendoza won gold at the Central America & Caribbean Games earlier this year. Angelo MARQUES MORIERA (BRA) was fifth at the 2013 World Military Championships and took a bronze medal at the South American Championships in 2013. Alvaro HUBIEROA ROBLES (DOM) was a bronze medalist at 66kg in 2013 and also gook a bronze at the Granma Cup.
Much like 71kg, there aren’t too many names listed in the event’s preliminary entry list. Of the three listed, there’s no gold-medal career finishes at senior-level events. Jon ANDERSON (USA) was a bronze medalist at the Dave Schultz Memorial and the Haparanda Cup this year, while Daniel RERREIRA (BRA) has a bronze medal finish at the 2013 Copa Brazil, a weight won by Roman Vlasov of Russia that year. Juan ALVAREZ (VEN) is also a preliminary entry.
Pablo SHOREY HERNANDEZ (CUB) is one of the best wrestlers in the World. While currently unranked due to only having one competition since competing at the 2012 Olympc Games. Shorey Hernandez was a 2010 World silver medalist and also has a 2009 bronze medal to go along with it. The last time he competed in the Pan Am Championships, he finished with a silver, but he has three other Pan Am golds in his career. His first time seeing competitive action since London was in February at the Granma Cup, where he won gold. Alexander BRAZON BRAVO (VEN) was the silver medalist at the 2013 Pan Am Championships, while Jake FISHER (USA) was a bronze medalist, but that was down at 74kg. Elivs D’OBRE (DOM) was a bronze medalist at the Granma Cup at 80kg.
Since 2012, Yasmany LUGO CABRERA (CUB) has claimed five international gold medals. He’s currently ranked No.15 in the world and should be a favorite to defend his Pan Am gold from a year ago, this time at a readjusted 98kg weight class.
Oscar LOANGO SOLIS (COL) has two bronze medals this year, earning them at the South American Games in March and the Central American & Caribbean Games a month later. Jose ARIAS PAREDES (DOM) was the silver medalist at the Granma Cup behind Lugo Cabrera and could be a solid candidate to challenge for a medal.
Edwin CARABALLO CABRERA (VEN) was an Olympian in 2012 and has medaled in eight Pan Am Games or Championships since 2006. He’s represented Venezuela at three World Championships. Caylor WILLIAMS (USA) was a bronze medalist at last year’s event.
Fans will also get to see the legendary Mijain LOPEZ (CUB) step to the mats at 130kg. Lopez has been one of the world’s most dominant Greco-Roman wrestlers in the last decade. Lopez’s resume includes two Olympic gold medals, four World championships and two world silver medals. He’s been competing actively for Cuba at the senior level since 2001 and broke through with his first World medal in 2005.
Only once in his career has he failed to claim gold at a Pan American Games or Championships, and that came way back in 2003 when American Dremiel Byers prevented the then up-and-coming Cuban from Gold. He’s won nine straight gold in Pan Am tournaments he’s entered.