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Vering, Ruiz win Greco-Roman golds at Pan American Championships in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR - Two Americans won gold medals and six won medals at the Pan American Greco-Roman Championships on Friday, May 18. The Pan American nations are from North, Central and South America.

Capturing gold medals for the USA were 2004 Olympian Brad Vering (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 84 kg/185. lbs. and 2005 World bronze medalist Justin Ruiz (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 96 kg/211.5 lbs.

The top eight finishers in each weight class qualify their countries for July's Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Based upon their performance, the United States will have a full team of seven Greco-Roman wrestlers in the Pan American Games.

Both Vering and Ruiz beat athletes from Cuba during their competition. Cuba traditionally is the top rival for the United States among Pan American Greco-Roman teams, and is among the world's top powers in the style.

Vering won three bouts on the way to his title. He opened with a 1-1, 3-0 win over Cuba's Pablo Shorey. In the semifinals, Vering pinned Eddy Bartolozzi of Venezuela, then scored a 6-0, 7-0 technical fall over Cristian Mosquera of Colombia in the finals. It was his first Pan American Championships title, after winning a silver medal in 2003.

Ruiz also won his first career Pan American Championships title. He scored a 3-0, 7-0 victory in his first match over Maneul Simono Nunez of the Dominican Republic, then pinned Eric Garcia of Cuba in the semifinals. In the gold-medal round, he needed three periods to defeat Luis Talavera of Venezuela, 1-2, 2-0, 2-1.

Claiming silver medals for the United States were Glenn Garrison (Colorado Springs, Colo./U.S. Army) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs., T.C. Dantzler (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 74 kg/163 lbs. and Russ Davie (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 120 kg/264.5 lbs. All three were defeated by Cuban opponents in the finals.

Garrison won his first two bouts, stopping Santiago Pissani of Argentina, 6-0, 6-0 and Angelo Mota Brea of the Dominican Republic, 3-1, 3-1. In the championship finals, he was beaten by Maylin Consuegra of Cuba, 1-5, 0-3. Consuegra won the Pan American Championships for the second straight year.

Dantzler, who was fifth at the 2006 World Championships, had two dominant wins prior to the finals, scoring technical falls over Ontoniel Perez of Puerto Rico, 8-0, 7-0 and Marcelo Mina of Ecuador, 6-0, 9-0. He lost by pin to Odelis Herrero of Cuba in the finals. It was Herrero's second career Pan American Championships gold.

Davie had three wins prior to the finals. He opened with a 6-1 3-0 victory over Victor Asparilla of Colombia, then edged Rafael Barreno of Venezuela, 0-3, 3-0, 1-1. In the championship finals, he lost by technical fall to 2005 World champion Mijail Lopez of Cuba, 7-0, 7-0.

Sam Hazewinkel (Pensasola, Fla./Gator WC) won a bronze medal at 55 kg/121 lbs. wit a 3-1 record. His only loss was a 1-1, 0-3 decision in the semifinals to Jorge Cardozo of Venezuela.

Joe Betterman (Chicago, Ill./New York AC/USOEC) was fifth at 60 kg/132 lbs. with a 2-2 record.

The team was coached by USA Wrestling National Greco-Roman coach Steve Fraser of Colorado Springs, Colo. and Dan Chandler of Minneapolis, Minn. Six of the seven competitors were 2007 U.S. Nationals champions. Betterman was a U.S. Nationals runner-up.

The competition continues on Saturday with the women's freestyle division, and concludes on Sunday with the men's freestyle division.

At San Salvador, El Salvador, May 18

55 kg/121 lbs.
Gold - Jansel Ramirez (Dominican Republic)
Silver - Jorge Cardoza (Venezuela)
Bronze - Lazaro Rivas (Cuba)
Bronze - Sam Hazewinkel (USA)
5th - Promise Mwenga (Canada)
5th - Paul Sobrado Numta (Peru)

60 kg/132 lbs.
Gold -Roberto Monzon (Cuba)
Silver - Ivan Duque (Colombia)
Bronze - M. Cortez Molina (Peru)
Bronze - Luis Liendo (Venezuela)
5th - Kelvin Escorcio (Nicaragua)
5th - Joe Betterman (USA)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Gold - Maylin Consuegra (Cuba)
Silver - Glenn Garrison (USA)
Bronze - Angelo Mota Brea (Dominican Republic)
Bronze - Carlos Ramos (Venezuela)
5th - Santiago Passani (Argentina)
5th - Ulises Barragan (Mexico)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Gold - Odelis Herrero (Cuba)
Silver - T.C. Dantzler (USA)
Bronze - Marcelo Mina (Ecuador)
Bronze - Sixto Barrera Ochoa (Peru)
5th - Otoniel Perez (Puerto Rico)
5th - Alexander Brazon (Venezuela)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Gold - Brad Vering (USA)
Silver - Cristian Mosquera (Colombia)
Bronze - Jose Paredes (Dominican Republic)
Bronze - Pablo Shorey (Cuba)
5th - Marcelo Gomes (Brazil)
5th - Eddy Bartolozzi (Venezuela)

96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Gold - Justin Ruiz (USA)
Silver - Luis Talavera (Venezuela)
Bronze - Luis Fernandez (Brazil)
Bronze - Eric Garcia (Cuba)
5th - Manuel Simono Nunez (Dominican Republic)
5th - Alexis Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Gold - Mijial Lopez (Cuba)
Silver - Russ Davie (USA)
Bronze - Ari Taub (Canada)
Bronze - Rafael Barreno (Venezuela)
5th - John Lee Vega (Puerto Rico)
5th - Alfredo Brito Docembil (Domincan Republic)

U.S. performances

55 kg/121 lbs. - Sam Hazewinkel, Pensasola, Fla. (Gator WC), 3rd
WIN Julio Munoz (Colombia), 3-0, 4-0
WIN Wilfredo Lema (Equador), 8-0, 6-0
LOSS Jorge Cardozo (Venezuela), 1-1, 0-3
WIN Paul Numta Sobrado (Peru), 1-3, 8-1, 7-1

60 kg/132 lbs. - Joe Betterman, Chicago, Ill. (New York AC/USOEC), 5th
WIN Cristian Vital (Argentina), 7-0, 6-0
WIN Milton Gualpa (Ecuador), 6-0, 7-0
LOSS Roberto Monzon (Cuba), 3-1, 0-6, 0-6
LOSS Luis Liendo (Venezuela), 1-6, 0-7

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Glenn Garrison, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army), 2nd
WIN Santiago Pissani (Argentina), 6-0, 6-0
WIN Angelo Mota Brea (Dominican Republic), 3-1, 3-1
LOSS Maylin Consuegra (Cuba), 1-5, 0-3

74 kg/163 lbs. - T.C. Dantzler, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC), 2nd
WIN Ontoniel Perez (Puerto Rico), 8-0, 7-0
WIN Marcelo Mna (Ecuador), 6-0, 9-0
LOSS Odelis Herrero (Cuba), pin 1st period

84 kg/185 lbs. - Brad Vering, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 1st
WIN Pablo Shorey (Cuba), 1-1, 3-0
WIN Eddy Bartolozzi (Venezuela), pin 1st period
WIN Cristian Mosquera (Colombia), 6-0, 7-0

96 kg/211.5 lbs. - Justin Ruiz, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 1st
WIN Manuel Simono Nunez (Dominican Republic), 3-0, 7-0
WIN Eric Garcia (Cuba), pin 1st period
WIN Luis Talavera (Venezuela), 1-2, 2-0, 2-1

120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Russ Davie, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC), 2nd
WIN Victor Asparilla (Colombia), 6-1, 3-0
WIN Rafael Barreno (Venezuela), 0-3, 3-0, 1-1
WIN Alfredo Brito Docembil (Domincan Republic), 3-0, 3-0
LOSS Mijail Lopez (Cuba), 7-0, 7-0
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