Anthony Ashnault steamrolled his way to gold in his Team USA senior level debut on Sunday, winning the 70 kilogram freestyle title at the Pan Am Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Rutgers national champion went 4-0 against at the tournament, capped by a 10-0 technical fall win over Argentina’s Cristian Karlikowski in a final round bout that lasted just 24 seconds.
The Pan Am Championships serve as a qualifying event for May’s World Team Trials in Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as August’s Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. Ashnault, who recently signed with the Scarlet Knight Wrestling Club and New Jersey Regional Training Center as a senior resident athlete, has his eyes on representing Team USA at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Ashnault cruised into Sunday evening’s 70 kilo — roughly 154 pounds — final thanks to three dominant wins in the preliminary rounds earlier in the day.
Ashnault began his day by posting a 12-2 technical fall win over Canada’s Nick Rowe. He then pinned Peru’s Mitchel Taipe Duanama in 43 seconds before rounding out the first session with a 10-0 technical fall win over Brazil’s Hugo de Lima Viana.
Next up for Ashnault: An exhibition matchup with James Green, a two-time world medalist who was a state champion at Willingboro High before a decorated college career at Nebraska, as part of the 2019 “Grapple at the Garden” on Monday, May 6, at MSG’s Hulu Theater as part of a lineup of Team USA vs. NCAA Champion matchups.