2024 Pan-Am Qualifiers

Olympic Berths On The Line When U.S. Women Compete At Pan-Am Qualifier

Olympic Berths On The Line When U.S. Women Compete At Pan-Am Qualifier

Dom Parrish, Kayla Miracle, and Amit Elor can notch Olympic berths for the United States. Will they deliver at the Pan-Am Olympic qualifier?

Feb 16, 2024 by Kyle Klingman
Olympic Berths On The Line When U.S. Women Compete At Pan-Am Qualifier

The U.S. women’s freestyle team is halfway to a full Olympic team. The next step is the Senior Pan-American Olympic Games Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico, from February 28-March 1.

Sarah Hildebrandt (50 kg), Helen Maroulis (57 kg), and Adeline Gray (76 kg) qualified the United States for the Olympic Games by securing bronze medals at the 2023 World Championships.

The remaining three Olympic weights — 53 kg, 62 kg, and 68 kg — did not medal at the 2023 Worlds and did not qualify — yet. Two more opportunities remain, but qualifying through the Pan-Am qualifier has advantages for three U.S. participants.

Dominique Parrish (53 kg), Kayla Miracle (62 kg), and Amit Elor (68 kg) will represent Team USA after winning the U.S. Pan-Am qualifier in Denver on February 3. Reaching the finals of the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier in Acapulco qualifies the United States at that weight for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

It could also earn Parrish, Miracle, and Elor a spot in the best-of-three finals at the Olympic Trials on April 19-20 in State College, Pennsylvania.

For example, Kayla Miracle earns a spot in the best-of-three Olympic Trials if qualifies the United States at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier. She will wrestle through the Olympic Trials mini-tournament if she does not reach the finals of the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier since she didn’t qualify the weight for the Olympics.

Only countries that have not qualified for the Olympic Games are allowed to compete at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier.

Below is a breakdown of the three U.S. representatives along with their biggest threats.

53 kg: Dom Parrish
Likelihood of qualification: High
Senior Worlds: 2022 (gold), 2023 (22nd)

Parrish has the toughest path of the three Americans. She defeated Lucia Yepez Guzman of Ecuador, 10-0, during the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Championships but Guzman already qualified at the 2023 World Championships.

Karla Godinez Gonzalez (Canada), Zeltin Hernandez (Mexico), Laura Herin (Cuba), and Betzabeth Aguello Villegas (Venezuela) are viable threats to Parrish making the team. Villegas placed ahead of Parrish at the 2023 Pan-Ams (2nd) and defeated her, 8-6, in the quarterfinals, while Godinez Gonzalez notched a 3-1 victory at the 2022 Zouhaier Sghaier ranking tournament. Herin was an Olympian in 2020 and could make some noise. 

This is Parrish’s weight to win if she’s on her game. The Scotts Valley, California, native made U.S. World teams each of the past two years and can get turns on top if she has to. Godinez Gonzalez and Parrish were national college champions for Simon Fraser — so the two know each other well.

A Simon Fraser vs Simon Fraser showdown could be the marquee match at the Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier.


Watch highlights of Parrih's 10-0 win over Yepez Guzman at the 2022 World Championships

62 kg: Kayla Miracle
Likelihood of qualification: High
Senior Worlds/Olympics: 2019 Worlds (8th), 2020 Olympics (12th), 2021 Worlds (silver), 2022 Worlds (silver), 2023 Worlds (14th)

Ana Godinez Gonzalez (Canada) — Karla’s sister — and Lais Nunes de Oliveira (Brazil) will push Miracle for the spot. Gonzalez and Miracle have been training partners in the past and the two have faced off before, with Miracle winning every time. Gonzalez won gold at the 2021 U23 World Championships and recently defeated American Katie Lange at the 2023 Bill Farrell Memorial International on November 17.

Lais Nunes defeated Miracle 6-2 during the semifinals of the 2023 Pan-Am Championships. She has qualified for nine World Championships and the 2016 Olympics. The 31-year-old has been in two medal matches but hasn’t snagged a podium finish during her long career.

Bottom line: expect the Miracle. The former Campbellsville star qualified this weight at the 2020 Pan-Am Olympic Qualifier and there’s every reason to believe she will do it again.


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Miracle and Godinez Gonzalez faced off in the Bout at the Ballpark in 2022

68 kg: Amit Elor
Likelihood of qualification: Extremely High
Senior Worlds: 2022 (gold), 2023 (gold)

The only thing that will derail Elor is an unforeseen circumstance. The Walnut Creek, California, native turned 20 on January 1 and already has two senior World titles at 72 kg under her belt. She moved down to 68 kg for an Olympic run and is the heavy favorite at the Pan Ams and Olympic Trials.

Linda Morais (Canada) and Gabriela Pedro da Rocha (Brazil) are the Pan-Am wrestlers to watch at this weight.


Watch scoring highlights from Amit Elor's 2022 Senior World gold medal final