It was a good start to the Men’s freestyle portion of the Pan American Games, as both Angel Escobedo and Brent Metcalf each made it into the finals of their respective weight classes in Toronto, Canada. Coming into day three of the four day wrestling event, USA led all countries with seven medals including three gold (also the most).
Cyclone wrestling coach Angel Escobedo made it look easy early on at 57 kg, as he started off with a 10-0 technical fall over Emir Hernandez of Columbia. He followed that up with a first period fall over Pablo Benites (Puerto Rico) in the semifinals to square off against Cuban Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez in the gold medal match.
Rodriguez is no slouch, ranked a top five wrestler at 61 kg, Rodriguez has handed two-time World Team member Tony Ramos two losses already in the 2015 season. Rodriguez would continue his dominance over his American counterparts with a 10-0 win over Escobedo. The match was close into the second period, but Escobedo missed on a throw and that was all Rodriguez would need to capitalize. Escobedo would finish with silver.
Brent Metcalf of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club started off strong in his Pan American 65 kg bracket, with a 10-0 technical fall against Guatemala’s Marbin Miranda. His next match was against former Michigan State standout Franklin Gomez, who competes for Puerto Rico. Metcalf surrendered an early takedown, but responded with one of his own to tie the match 2-2. Gomez then was able to hit a takedown and a leg lace to retake the lead 6-2. Late in the match Metcalf was able to hit a gut wrench to tie the match 8-8 and then added another takedown late for insurance for the 10-8 win.
Surprisingly, it was not host country’s Haislan Garcia of Canada to meet Metcalf in the finals, but rather Franklin Maren of Cuba. The two have met on two occasions in the 2015 year with Metcalf sweeping the meetings winning at the World Cup and Beat the Streets. After giving up the first point on a pushout, Metcalf would score on his patented left handed high crotch to go up 2-1 and would never look back. In the second period he gave up a caution point, but he really poured it on for an 8-2 gold medal performance.
The win continued USA’s dominance by remaining a top the medal leader board with 11 total medals and five gold. Both Escobedo and Metcalf faced off against Cubans in their finals matches, and had Maren gotten a win over Metcalf, USA and Cuba would have been tied in golds.
Quarterfinals: Angel ESCOBEDO (USA) df. Emir HERNANDEZ (COL) by TF, 10-0
Semifinals: Angel ESCOBEDO (USA) df. Pablo BENITES (PER) by FALL, 6-0
Finals: Yowlys BONNE (CUB) df. Angel ESCOBEDO (USA) by TF, 10-0
Quarterfinals: Brent METCALF (USA) df. Marbin MIRANDA (GUA) by TF, 10-0
Semifinals: Brent METCALF (USA) df. Franklin GOMEZ (PUR), 10-8
Finals: Brent METCALF (USA) df. Franklin MAREN (CUB), 8-2