July 18, 2015
COLUMBUS, Ohio – U.S. Open Champion. U.S. Open Most Outstanding Wrestler. World Team Trials Champion. Add another accomplishment to the already-impressive resume that Kyle Snyder is putting together in the summer of 2015 – Pan American Games Champion and gold medalist.
Snyder knocked off Canada’s Arjun Gill in Saturday night’s 97 kg./213 lbs. gold medal match by technical fall, 10-0. He began his onslaught early in the first period, getting a takedown just 15 seconds into the match. He added another shortly after for a 4-0 and eventually led 8-0 after the opening stanza.
Much like the first period, Snyder continued to attack in the second and finished off the match with a takedown less than a minute into action for the 10-0 margin. In all, he outscored his opponents 31-1 on his way to three dominating performances Saturday.
“I felt like I was very prepared for this event,” Snyder said. “I trained really hard leading up to it. This is something I marked down on my calendar as a goal that I wanted to win the Pan-Am Games moving forward to the World Championships to build some momentum. I was very prepared and he’s a good opponent, but I was just ready to wrestle.”
Snyder, who kicked off the summer by winning his first-ever U.S. Open title and defeated 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner in the process, continued rolling after his World Team Trials championship last month, making short work of his opponents in the quarterfinals and semifinals on the way to the finals. In the opening round, Snyder won by technical fall over Yuri Maier of Argentina, 11-1, and then shutout Jose Diaz in the semifinals, 10-0.
Against Diaz, Snyder recorded his first takedown 10 seconds into the match and didn’t let up, getting two more in the first period to take a 6-0 lead. A single-leg takedown and ankle pick in the second period sealed the 10-0 win, giving Team USA a perfect 8-0 record in the first two rounds on Saturday.
“I felt good out there,” Snyder said. “It’s been a while since I competed at the Trials, but I’m seeing some improvement in my offense and I’m trying to get better on top.”
The Pan American Games, occurring this year in Toronto, Ontario, is a multi-sport event held every four years, featuring the nations from North, Central and South America. The event precedes the Olympic Games by one year and consists of all summer Olympic sports, plus select non-Olympic sports. It serves as an Olympic-qualifying event for many of the participating sports.
Saturday’s goal medal for Snyder was the second in as many years for a Buckeye wrestler, as Hunter Stieber won the 70 kg./154 lbs. division in 2014.
The U.S. qualified 16 athletes in men’s and women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Snyder will compete in the 2015 World Championships, slated to take place Sept. 7-12 in Las Vegas, Nev. The 2015 NCAA and Big Ten runner-up as a true freshman is unbeaten this summer in his quest to represent the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.