Ashnault helps lead Team USA to gold at Pan Am championships
After becoming the second Rutgers wrestler to win the NCAA Championships in his weight class just four weeks earlier, graduate student 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault earned a gold medal for Team USA in the 70-kilogram (approximately 154 pounds in the weight class) match at the Pan American Championships.
In Argentina's capital city of Buenos Aires, Ashnault was 1 of 10 Team USA wrestlers to shut out an opponent, defeating the host country's Cristian Karlikowski 24 seconds into the bout by a technical fall.
Team USA went an undefeated 34-0 while coming out on top with 250 points, the weekend's best team score. They made history by becoming the first U.S. national team to win at every Pan Am weight class.
Ashnault beat his opponents a combined 32-2 in the four rounds he wrestled in Buenos Aires.
The first wrestler the NCAA champion faced was Canada's Nick Rowe, who Ashnault handled 12-2 for his first technical fall.
Ashnault, who is a finalist for the Dan Hodge Trophy, the most prestigious collegiate wrestling award, secured a fall against Peru's Mitchel Taipe. In that bout, the South Plainfield, New Jersey native spent 43 seconds on the mat before claiming victory in the second round of the 70-kilogram event.
The third round ended in another shutout win for Ashnault, as he earned a 10-0 technical fall win over Brazil's Hugo de Lima Viana.
Ashnault's win over Karlikowski secured his first win as a member of Team USA. It also furthers his post-Rutgers wrestling career by qualifying him for the World Team Trials next month, and pushing him closer to competing under the stars and stripes in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
After the World Team Trials, Ashnault, who finished his sixth season on the Banks with an unblemished 32-0 record, capped his final collegiate wrestling career with a Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Championship titles at the 149-pound weight class. He will compete in the 2019 Pan American Games, held in Lima, Peru.
Ashnault is also the program's record holder with 118 career victories. He finished this past season ranked as the consensus No. 1 wrestler, rising to the top ranking after defeating Princeton's Matthew Kolodzik in a major decision back on Feb. 3.
Ashnault will return to the mat, this time alongside fellow NCAA champion and junior 133-pounder Nick Suriano on May 6 at the 2019 Grapple at the Garden Beat the Streets benefit at Madison Square Garden. Incoming freshman JoJo Aragona, a member of the Scarlet Knights' 2019 signing class and Pope John XXIII Regional High School 141-pounder, will also join.
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