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Sarah Henckel wins gold medal at U-17 Pan-American championships

Southbury’s Sarah Henckel, shown last summer in Fargo, won a gold medal at U-17 Pan American championships on Friday. (Photo courtesy Sarah Jadach)

Southbury’s Sarah Henckel won a gold medal in women’s freestyle at the U17 Pan-American championships on Friday in Mexico City helping the U.S. women’s freestyle team win the tournament.

The Americans medaled in all 10 weight classes and had nine gold medalists, giving the U.S. a dominating 245-136 win over host Mexico. Canada was third with 94 points.

Henckel went 3-0 in the competition at 69 kilograms (152 pounds) to finish first. Henckel didn’t give up a point in 10-0 tech fall victories over Canada’s Rose LaCoste, Columbia’s Angie Medina Cruz and Mexico’s Zashka Ruiz Carrizales.

Wisconsin native Carley Ceshker (57 kg, 125 pounds) was named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament. She won five matches, the most of any wrestler at the event. Four of her five victories came by way of pin or technical fall. In the 57 kg finals, it was Ceshker edging Puerto Rico’s Eliana White Vega by a 6-3 decision.

Illinois’ Harlee Hiller claimed the 49 kg (108 pounds) gold medal by pinning all four of her international foes. Her combined mat time across all matches was 7:08, an average of 1:47 per match. Only one of her matches made it to the second period.

Greco-Roman was held on Thursday and men’s freestyle will complete the event on Saturday.

2023 U17 Pan-American Championships
At Mexico City, Mexico, June 23
Women’s Freestyle Results
Team results – United States 245, 2. Mexico 136, 3. Canada 94, 4. Ecuador 83, 5. Puerto Rico 80, 6. Brazil 63, 7. Columbia 57, 8. Peru 30, 9. Chile 8

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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