Three Former Gophers Shine in Chile

Dustin Schlatter, Zach Sanders and Pat Smith all capture medals at Pan Am Championships in Santiago

As the United States dominated the field at the Pan American Championships in Santiago, Chile over the weekend, three former Gopher grapplers contributed to team victories in both freestyle and Greco-Roman with outstanding individual efforts.

Minnesota GophersWrestling freestyle at 70 kilograms (154 lbs.), 2006 national champ and current Gopher graduate assistant Dustin Schlatter earned gold by piling up four lopsided wins. Schlatter defeated all four of his opponents by technical fall and did not surrender a single point, winning his quartet of matches by a combined score of 41-0. For Schlatter, this weekend’s gold-medal performance was his first in Pan American competition.

Also wrestling freestyle, four-time All-American and current Gopher graduate assistant Zach Sanders took on the field at 57 kilograms (125.5 lbs.) and brought home a silver medal. Sanders, the defending Pan American champion, cruised through his first three matches by a total score of 30-3, including a pair of 10-0 technical falls to begin the competition. Alfredo Cisnero (Cuba) knocked off Sanders in his final match, 8-2, to prevent a repeat.

On the Greco-Roman side, Pat Smith earned his first career Pan American Championships title after claiming silver medals in 2011 and 2013. Competing at 71 kilograms (156.5 lbs), Smith defeated all four of his opponents convincingly, recording four consecutive technical falls and cumulatively outscoring his competitors 36-2.

The competition in Chile was the last qualifying event prior to the 2015 Pan American Games, which will be held in Toronto from July 15-18. Be sure to stay tuned to this summer, and follow Gopher Wrestling on Facebook and Twitter, to keep up with international results of Gopher Wrestling alumni.

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