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Kayla Batres earns spot on Team USA for U15 Pan-American championships

Milford’s Kayla Batres earned a spot in the U.S. U15 Pan American wrestling team.

Milford’s Kayla Batres won six matches and didn’t give up a point to earn a spot on the United States U15 Pan American team on Sunday at the U15 Pan American team trials at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Batres, 15, went 4-0 in round robin competition at 50 kilograms (110 pounds) and then swept a pair of matches from Stevie Joyce-Martin of Castro Valley, California and ZM Grapping Academy in the best-of-3 finals.

In the finals, Batres had a pair of technical fall victories by scores of 10-0 and 11-0. She also beat Joyce-Martin in the round-robin portion of the competition, 11-0.

Batres, who trains with South Side Wrestling in Bridgeport, will compete with Team USA at the 2023 U15 Pan American championships on Nov. 23-26 in Panama City, Panama.

Batres was second at USA Wrestling’s 16U nationals in Fargo, North Dakota in July at 106 pounds and won a New England championship in March.

Four other state wrestlers competed at the U15 Pan American team trials with Simsbury’s Max Konopka finishing second in the Greco-Roman and freestyle competitions at 85 kilograms (187 pounds). In both events, Konopka went 2-1 and lost to Evan Perez of Severance, Colorado, and Bear Cave Wrestling.

Perez beat Konopka, 6-1 in Greco-Roman and 7-4 in freestyle. Konopka won a U.S. Open national championship with his victory in the U15 division at 85 kilograms in Las Vegas in April.

Norwalk’s Ryan Schneider (85 kg/187) finished third in Greco-Roman and freestyle with 1-2 records in both tournaments. Will Motley (68 kg/149) finished third in Greco-Roman with a 2-2 record and fourth in freestyle. Plainville’s Jaxsen Bailey (41 kg/90) was fifth in Greco-Roman and fifth in freestyle.

Three wrestlers – Motley, Schneider and Batres – train with Southside Wrestling Club. Konopka trains with Empire Wrestling Club while Bailey trains with Ascension Wrestling Academy in Bristol.

Marlborough’s Jackson Heslin was the last state wrestler to compete in the U15 Pan American championships. Heslin won a gold medal in freestyle and a silver medal in Greco-Roman at 56 kilograms (114 pounds) in 2021.

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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