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Wrestling: S-O's Hunter Dejong wins gold at Pan American championships in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Sibley-Ocheyedan wrestler Hunter Dejong made a splash at the cadet Pan American Championships winning gold in freestyle at 187 pounds on Sunday and silver in greco-roman on Friday. The Pan American championships feature...

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Sibley-Ocheyedan wrestler Hunter Dejong made a splash at the cadet Pan American Championships winning gold in freestyle at 187 pounds on Sunday and silver in greco-roman on Friday. The Pan American championships feature top competitors from North and South America.

Dejong went 4-0 in the round-robin tournament, defeating Brazil’s Barbosa Da Silva 10-0, pinning Canada’s Sunny Benning in 2:28, pinning Puerto Rico’s Christian Salter in 3:56, and defeating Mexico’s Pedro Garay Lopez 10-4.

“I wanted to come here and I wanted to get two golds, and that didn’t happen,” Dejong said in an interview available on USA Wrestling’s YouTube channel. “But I’m plenty satisfied with this gold. It just shows how much I’ve come and what I’m willing to do and showing that college is what I’m capable of.”

He went 2-1 in the Greco Roman competition, picking up a pair of pins on Brazil’s Igor Alves De Queiroz (3:42) and Puerto Rico’s Christian Alster (1:56). His loss was an 11-2 decision against the gold medalist Luis Lopez Vazquez of Mexico.

He told USA Wrestling that the loss in the Greco-Roman competition motivated him towards his victory in freestyle.

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“I wanted to get revenge from my greco match, so I came out guns blazing,” Dejong said. “I was just sticking to the basics getting my shots and it worked out for the best.”

While he says wrestling on an international stage was a huge deal for him, his mindset was to treat it like any other competition.

“I dumbed down the situation,” Dejong said in the video. “I made it seem like I was just right back at home. It was in a gym and I was on a wrestling mat. Just being able to come here, and being from a small town, being able to show people what I can do, it makes me really excited.”

Dejong finished fourth at the Iowa state Class 1A individual tournament as a junior in 2017, losing to Don Bosco’s Walker Even via ultimate tie breaker in the third-place match. His next action this summer will come at the USA Wrestling national championships beginning Friday at the Fargodome in Fargo, N.D.

Related Topics: WRESTLING
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