LIMA, Peru – Former Panther and U.S. Open champion Joe Colon won the 61-kilogram weight class in the freestyle division of the 2018 Pan-Am Championships.
Colon opened with a 12-0 tech fall over Peru's Luis Enrique Mallqui Suazo. He went on to beat Joshua Bodnarchuk of Canada in a 13-2 tech fall. He pinned Juan Anton Rodriguez Jovel of Eastern Sports Association before meeting Bodnarchuk again. His 10-0 tech fall over Bodnarchuk for the title helped secure a team win for the U.S. over second-place Cuba.
Canada was third, and Colombia and Peru rounded out the top five.
Colon is the first Panther since 2016 to win a gold at the event since Jordan Holm won as part of the U.S. Greco team. Justin Greenlee and Mike McCready also earned Pan-Am titles in 1993 and 1975, respectively.
Colon is a Clear Lake, Iowa, native. He finished third at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at 133 pounds for UNI. He is now a volunteer assistant coach for Fresno State, which just completed its first year of competition in the Big 12 after an 11-year hiatus.