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COLUMBUS, Ohio Tommy Rowlands, assistant coach for the Ohio State wrestling team, continued his bid for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team after winning the gold medal at the 2008 Pan American Championships Sunday in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Competing at 120kg/264.5 pounds at the Olympic Training Center, Rowlands shut out Brazil’s Antoine Jaoude, 2-0, 4-0, in the gold-medal match. En route to the final, Rowlands, a 2007 U.S. World Team member, pinned world champion Alexis Rodriguez of Cuba in 1:54 in the opening match earlier Sunday.

“That was a big win for me,” Rowlands said. “He (Rodriguez) is a seven-time world medalist. This doesn’t put me on the Olympic Team. It’s definitely a nice steppingstone for me and one that I am proud of.”

After downing Rodriguez, Rowlands held Canada’s Arjan Bhullar scoreless to win, 3-0, 2-0, in the semifinals, setting up the gold-medal match against Jaoude.

Rowlands’ gold medal helped the United States win the Pan Am championships with 64 points, edging Cuba for the title, which compiled 59 points.

In his quest to compete at the Olympic Games in Beijing, Rowlands will participate at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials June 13-15 in Las Vegas.