Pan Am Games Draws Set in Santiago

by Nicole Jomantas

(Santiago, Chile) – The draws were set on Friday for three days of competition in the individual events which begin on Saturday at the Centro de Deportes de Contacto.

Preliminary rounds begin daily at 10 a.m. local time with medal rounds beginning at 3 p.m.

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2023 Pan Am Games Individual Event Draws

Women’s 48 kg
The 2023 Masters World silver medalist, Maria Laborde (Kenosha, WI / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) enters her first Pan Am Games as a two-time reigning Senior Pan American Championships bronze medalist looking forward to rematches against familiar foes. In the first round, Laborde will fight Jacqueline Solis (EAI) in a rematch of their 2022 Senior Pan Am bronze medal final. The winner will advance to the quarter-finals against three-time Pan Am Games bronze medalist Edna Carillo (MEX) who defeated Laborde in the semifinals of the 2023 Senior Pan Ams en route to winning her 10th career Senior Pan Am Championship medal. Carillo and Laborde have fought numerous times throughout their long careers with each of their last three matches being decided on penalties. The top half of the bracket includes 2022 Senior Pan Am Champion Amanda Lima (BRA) and 2021 Senior Pan Am bronze medalist Luz Pena (ECU) as potential opponents should Laborde advance to the semifinals. While Laborde and Lima have not fought, the American did defeat Pena at the 2023 Santo Domingo Pan Am Open. On the opposite side of the bracket is headlined by 2021 and 2023 Senior Pan Am Champion Mary Dee Vargas Ley (CHI) – the 2019 Pan Am Games bronze medalist who bested Laborde at the 2022 Senior Pan Ams and 2022 Senior Worlds.

Men’s 60 kg
Four-time Pan Am Open medalist David Terao (Fairfax, VA) drew five-time Pan Am Open medalist Juan Pablo Ayala (ECU) in the round of 16. Ayala, a 2021 Pan Am Junior Champion, has fought Terao twice, giving the American his only losses at the Santiago and Cordoba Pan Am Opens where Terao won bronze medals at both tournaments. The winner will face 2022 Senior Pan American Champion Sebastian Sancho (CRC) in the quarter-finals. Terao fought Sancho at the Varadero Pan Am Open in April, defeating Sancho en route to his gold medal win. Both of the bronze medalists from the 2023 Senior Pan Ams are in the field in Santiago as well with Michel Agusto (BRA) in the bottom half of the bracket where he could face Terao in the quarter-finals. Jonathan Charon (CUB) is in the top half of the bracket where he is favored to advance to the finals.

Women’s 52 kg
Two-time Olympian Angelica Delgado (Miami, FL / NYAC / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) won bronze medals at both the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games and is seeking a return to the podium in Santiago. An eight-time Senior Pan Am Championships medalist, Delgado earned a bye into the quarter-finals where she will fight three-time Pan Am Open medalist Agustina Lahiton (ARG). The semifinals could feature a rematch between Delgado and Larissa Pimenta (BRA) – the 2019 Pan Am Games Champion who has won every Senior Pan Am Championship title since 2019. Delgado and Pimenta fought in the finals in 2019, 2021 and 2022. While Delgado is seeking her first win against the World No. 10, each of their finals were close matches with two of the three going to the end of regulation or into Golden Score. On the top of the bracket, 2023 Senior Pan Am silver medalist Paulina Martinez (MEX) is a top candidate to advance to the finals. Delgado and Martinez have fought three times at the Senior Pan Ams with Delgado taking two of the three wins.

Women’s 57 kg
Team USA has two entries in this category with 2022 Senior Pan Am Championship bronze medalist Mariah Holguin (San Antonio, TX / Universal Judo) and 2021 Junior Pan Am Games Champion Tasha Cancela (Coral Springs, FL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) each aiming for a position on the podium. Holguin’s first opponent is Kristine Jimenez (PAN) – a Tokyo Olympian and 2019 Pan Am Games bronze medalist at 52 kg who moved up to 57 kg last year. The winner will fight Rafaela Silva (BRA) in the quarter-finals – the 2016 Olympic Champion who holds gold medals at both the 2013 and 2022 Senior Worlds as well. Cancela, a top-seven finisher at the 2022 Junior Worlds, drew Elizaeth Segura (CHI), a 2023 Cordoba Pan Am Open bronze medalist, in the opening round with the winner fighting 2019 Senior Pan Am bronze medalist Ana Rosa (DOM) in the quarters. In addition to Silva, who won silver at the 2023 Senior Pan Ams, the field also includes Brisa Gomez (ARG) – the 2023 Senior Pan Am Championships bronze medalist who sits in Cancela’s half of the bracket. Cancela defeated Gomez at the 2022 Junior Pan Ams while Holguin split her matches against Gomez at the 2022 and 2023 Senior Pan Ams.

Men’s 73 kg
Jack Yonezuka (West Long Branch, NJ / NYAC / Cranford JKC) was scheduled to compete in this category, but withdrew prior to the start of the tournament.

Women’s 63 kg
Three-time Senior World Team member Sara Golden (Crystal Lake, IL / Ki-Itsu-Sai National Training Center) drew 2021 Junior Pan Am silver medalist Ariela Sanchez (DOM) in the round of 16. Golden and Sanchez fought twice as juniors, splitting their matches with one each. The winner will fight 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Ketleyn Quadros (BRA) – an eight-time Grand Slam medalist who is ranked No. 4 in the world – in the quarter-finals. The top half of the bracket also includes Prisca Awiti (MEX) – the two-time Senior Pan Am silver medalist who defeated Quadros in the semis of the 2023 Senior Pan Ams. The bottom of the bracket includes Quadros’ opponents from the last two Senior Pan Am bronze medal finals. Two-time Senior Pan Am Champion Maylin Del Toro Carvajal (CUB) and Cindy Mera (COL) each won bronze medals over Quadros at the 2023 and 2022 Senior Pan Ams respectively.

Men’s 81 kg
A six-time Pan Am Open medalist, Kell Berliner (Schenectady, NY / Jason Morris Judo Center) will fight 2022 Junior Pan Am bronze medalist David Popovici (CAN) in the round of 16 in Santiago. The winner will fight Guilherme Schmidt (BRA) – the World No. 3 who claimed silver at the Masters Worlds in August and earned back-to-back Senior Pan Am Championship titles in 2021 and 2022. The division’s top seed also lies in Berliner’s half of the bracket – 2023 Zagreb Grand Prix and 2019 Pan Am Games silver medalist Medickson Del Orbe (DOM).

Women’s 70 kg
Fighting on her first Senior National Team, two-time Pan Am Open medalist Yasmin Alamin (Woodbridge, VA / Sport Judo) will fight two-time Senior Pan Am Championships medalist Luana Carvalho (BRA) in the round of 16. The winner will come up against top seed and two-time Senior Pan Am Championship medalist Celinda Corozo (ECU). The top of the bracket also includes 2021 Junior World bronze medalist Idelannis Gomez (CUB) who is seeking a breakthrough as a senior. On the bottom of the bracket, watch for nine-time Grand Slam medalist Elivismar Rodriguez (VEN) to advance to the finals after back-to-back Senior Pan Am Championship golds in 2022 and 2023.

Men’s 90 kg
Two athletes will represent Team USA at 90 kg with 2021 Junior Pan Am Games Champion Alex Knauf (Yorkville, IL / NYAC / Cohen Brothers) opening with a bye and a quarter-final match against top seed Robert Florentino (DOM) – the 2021 Senior Pan Am Champion. The winner could likely fight World No. 8 Rafael Macedo (BRA) – the reigning Senior Pan Am Champion and silver medalist at the 2022 Masters Worlds. A bronze medalist at the 2022 Guayaquil Pan Am Open, Geronimo Saucedo (Wylie, TX / Becerra Judo) drew a bye in the bottom half of the bracket where he will face one of the favorites in the division – World No. 5 and 2018 Senior World silver medalist Ivan Silva (CUB).

Men’s 100 kg
Two-time Senior Pan Am Championships medalist Nate Keeve (San Rafael, CA / NYAC) drew Ivo Dargoltz (ARG) in the round of 16. The two have only fought once with Keeve defeating Dargoltz for bronze here in Santiago at the Pan Am Open in June. Keeve will be looking to advance to a quarter-final match against World No. 5 Shady Elnahas (CAN) who has traveled to Santiago after earning his 10th Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi earlier this week. Elnahas has won gold in all four of his appearances at the Senior Pan Am Championship appearances; however, he and Keeve have not fought since Keeve’s first Senior Pan Ams in 2019. The top half of the bracket also includes Leonardo Goncalves (BRA) – the six-time Grand Prix medalist who is 1-1 in matches against Keeve.

Women’s +78 kg
With seeding done off the Pan Am Rankings in Santiago, two-time Senior World Team member Mackenzie Williams (El Lago, TX / Westlake Judo) is Team USA’s only seeded athlete at the tournament where she comes in as No. 4. Williams earned a first-round bye and will fight 2023 Senior Pan Am Championships bronze medalist Brigitte Carabali (ECU). The match will be their first since Williams defeated Carabali at the 2022 Lima Pan Am Open where Williams won her second Pan Am Open gold. The semifinals will feature either Tokyo Olympian Izayana Marenco (NCA) or 2021 Junior Pan Am Champion Amarantha Urdaneta (VEN) – the latter of whom Williams defeated at the Santo Domingo Pan Am Open in 2022. On the bottom of the bracket, the match of the day is expected to be a potential quarter-final showdown between four-time Olympic medalist Idalys Ortiz (CUB) and six-time Senior World medalist Beatriz Souza (BRA). Ortiz is 7-2 against Souza; however, the Brazilian won their last two matches, including the finals of the Senior Pan Ams last month and the quarter-finals of the 2022 Senior Worlds.

Men’s +100 kg
Santiago has treated Philip Horiuchi (West Covina, CA / Los Angeles Tenri Judo Dojo) well in the past as the city is where Horiuchi won bronze at the Pan Am Open and solidified Horiuchi’s position on his first Senior National Team. Horiuchi drew one of two Cubans in the field – 2022 Junior World medalist Omar Cruz who secured his position at the Pan Am Games with a gold medal at the 2021 Junior Pan Am Games. The opposite side of the bracket holds two of the top heavyweights in the world – No. 5 Andy Granda (CUB) who won gold at the 2022 Senior Worlds and No. 8 Rafael Silva (BRA) who holds two Olympic and four Senior World medals. Silva holds a 6-4 lead in head-to-head matchups and the two are expected to meet in the quarter-finals.