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Our Greco-Roman team just won the gold medal narrowly over Cuba, which is great news. Personally, I'm more excited to see how our freestyle team can perform. As usual, we do not have the best team possible competing, but in all likelihood neither does Cuba. On paper, Cuba is the favorite having won six of seven weight classes last year, and returning four of those champs. Still, the USA has the ability to upset them especially if they can manage to go undefeated against other countries (a tall order with Canada in the mix). I'm far from an expert, but here's my brief preview after glancing at the brackets...


55kg
Obe Blanc- USA
Frank Chamizo Marquez- Cuba
Arturo Chavez Ramirez- Mexico
Alberto Medieta Fuentes- Nicaragua
Juan Ramirez Beltre- Dominica
Carlos Rodriguez- Puerto Rico

Blanc lost in the finals last year to Cuba but it's a different Cuban this year. The Cuban seems to be a young (17 years old) prospect. Luckily he's on the opposite side as Blanc, but Obe should win this weight regardless. Blanc is the only returning medalist. Interestingly, Canada does not have an entry as of yet at this weight class, though a number of countries are still absent from entry list so it may not be complete.

60kg
Coleman Scott- USA
Alejandro Valdes Tobier- Cuba
James Mancini- Canada
Francisco Soler Tanco- Puerto Rico
Luis Portillo- El Salvador
Alan Olvera Lopez- Mexico
Abel Herrera Pastor- Peru
Gabriel Garcia Sanchez- Dominica

Matt Valenti won bronze here last year. Canada's Mancini is the returning silver medalist and Peru's Herrera won the other bronze. Cuba looks to have a new athlete and if he beat out last year's champ he should be very formidable. Scott is on the Cuban's side of the bracket, and if he wins should face Canada in the final.

66kg
Tyler Nauman- USA
Geandry Garzon- Cuba
Haislan Garcia- Canada
Fernando Iglesias- Argentina
Angel Ramirez- Dominica
Manuel Rivera- Mexico
Barcelos Roan- Brazil
Pedro Soto Cordero- Puerto Rico

Brent Metcalf won bronze at this weight last year. Garzon and Garcia are the returning finalists, they're both very tough competitors. Unfortunately, Nauman got a horrible draw meeting Garcia in the first round who will likely lose to Garzon in the semifinals potentially giving us no points at this weight. Why they can't have a system that separates the two returning finalists? I have no idea. There is no one of note on the bottom half of the bracket.

74kg
Trent Paulson- USA
Ivan Fundora- Cuba
Cleopas Ncube- Canada
Juan Amalio- Guatemala
Franklin Lantigua- Puerto Rico
Ricardo Robertty Moreno- Venezuela
Eduardo Valencia Escoto- Mexico

Fundora is the returning champion here having beat Jon Reader in the finals last year. He's a proven veteran, and though he's getting up there in age, will probably be a slight favorite to repeat. Askren had a big win over Fundora earlier this year, so Trent Paulson will definitely have a chance to beat him in the semis. On the other side, Canada's Ncube has had a good season and should make the final without any problems.

84kg
David Bertolino- USA
Reineris Salas Perez- Cuba
Donald Brown- Canada
Pool Ambrosio Greifo- Peru
Miguel Barcenas Duron- Mexico
Jose Diaz Robertti- Venezuela
Jaime Espinal- Puerto Rico
Yuri Maier- Argentina

We had Eric Luedke losing in the finals to the Cuban Salas Perez last year. Bertolino is on the opposite side of the bracket this time around, he should have a tough test against Puerto Rico's Espinal in the semifinals who placed 9th in Herning.

96kg
JD Bergman- USA
Michel Batista Martinez- Cuba
Khetag Pliev- Canada
Diego Rodrigues- Brazil
Marcos Santos- Puerto Rico
William Serrano- El Salvador
Israel Silva Rios- Mexico
Luis Vivenes Urbaneja- Venezuela

Cuba's Batista is a perennial champion at this weight beating Kyle Cerminara in the finals last year. Going into this tournament JD Bergman was probably our 2nd toughest competitor behind Dlagnev, and he will have a chance to prove it tomorrow. He faces Batista in the first round, and in my opinion should be a slight favorite, but the Cuban is very tough. Another unfortunate random draw, since no one else is of these two wrestlers' caliber. Former Ohio high school phenom Khetag Pliev will be competing for Canada on the bottom half.

120kg
Tervel Dlagnev- USA
Steve Snaider- Canada
Antoine Abou Jaoude- Brazil
Ramon Garcia- Dominica
Winchell Negron- Puerto Rico
Jesse Ruiz Flores- Mexico

Mocco won this weight for us last year (the only non-Cuban victory), and there appear to be no returning medalists. Especially if Cuba does not have a late entry, Dlagnev should cruise to a gold medal here, not a strong weight class.