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U.S. places second in Pan Am Freestyle Championships with five silver medalists



The United States placed second as a team, led by five individual silver medalists, at the 2001 Pan American Championships, set for Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 19-20. Held three of every four years during the non-Pan American Games years, the Pan American Championships features the best wrestlers in North, Central and South America. Cuba won the team title with all eight gold medalists, scoring 80 points. The United States was second, 14 points behind Cuba. The host Dominican Republic placed third. Winning silver medals for the United States were T.J. Hill (Colorado Springs, Colo./Lions Den) at 119 pounds, Jamill Kelly (Stillwater, Okla./Cowboy WC) at 138.75 pounds, Joe Heskett (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) at 167.5 pounds, Andy Hrovat (Ann Arbor, Mich./Cliff Keen) at 187.25 pounds and Andy Bowlby (Corvallis, Ore./Orange Crush) at 286 pounds. All were defeated by Cuban opponents in the finals. Hill dropped a 5-0 decision to 1997 World Champion Wilfredo Garcia. Kelly lost a tight 2-1 overtime match to veteran Carlos Ortiz. Heskett was defeated by Yosmany Romero, 4-1. Hrovat was defeated by 1999 World Champion and 2000 Olympic silver medalist Yoel Romero, 5-1. Bowlby dropped a 5-0 decision to 1998 World Champion and 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Alexis Rodriguez. Winning a bronze medal for the United States was Chris Fleeger (Trout Run, Pa./Dave Schultz WC) at 127.75 pounds. Placing fourth was Michael Dixon (Ind./Unattached) at 213.75 pounds. Placing fifth was Ryan Berger (Ill./Unattached) at 152 pounds. The U.S. team was comprised of winners of the 2001 University National Freestyle Championships, which was held in Evanston, Ill. earlier this spring. "This was a learning experience," said Mike Duroe, USA Wrestling Freestyle Resident Coach. "For a lot of our guys, this was their first time competing out of our country. The conditions were tough, with the heat and the slippery mats. They got a taste of international officiating. Overall, I was pleased with the performance. They competed hard. It helped these guys learn where they have to get to win at this level."
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