Shakopee High School sophomore wrestler Paxton Creese has already made his presence known statewide and nationally. Now he has done it internationally winning a gold medal in freestyle and a silver medal in Greco-Roman for the United States at the UWW Cadet Pan Am Championships held in Guatemala.
A month ago, Creese swept both styles at the UWW Cadet Pan American Trials held in East Stroudsburg, PA earning a spot on the United States team.
“I was pretty focused to win that tournament and really wanted to make my first United States team.”, said Creese.
After gaining the spot in mid-April, Creese stayed focused in his training but decided to enter the Northern Plains Regionals a week ago.
“I needed some live competition and had not had any in about a month.” Add Creese.
Creese who is already qualified for the US Junior Championships to be held in July at the Fargo Dome in Fargo North Dakota knew he was taking a risk by competing a week before the Pan-Am.
“Yeah I knew I was taking a chance but I love to compete too. You have to take some risks sometimes, but I got a little injured and pulled out of the finals at my dad’s request. It just was not worth it to blow my opportunity to go to the Pan-Am.”
The competition started with Greco-Roman on Friday and would conclude Sunday with Freestyle.
Creese won by decision over Ronaldo Sanchez Ramirez of Columbia 7-2. He followed that up with a win over Eduardo Lovera of Argentina 5-1.
“I was just wasn’t real comfortable. Greco is my favorite style and I really was not performing at the level I expect. These kids are good for sure, but I was not at my best.”
In the final Creese met up with last year champion from Mexico, Axel Andre Salas Esquivel.
Creese got out to an early lead 2-0 and maintained that lead until the last minute of the match.
Creese was called for Passivity and Esquivel was given a point. With Esquivel also choosing top Creese had to fend off Esquivel attack which resulted in two more points for Esquivel.
“That was tough loss. I had a few disappointing losses in my career, but this one will definitely sting for a while.”
After earning his silver medal as the runner up, Creese had the next day off before the tournament resumed with Freestyle.
“The day off was really good for me. I got to clear my head and do some site-seeing. Sometimes getting away from what’s bugging you is the best medicine.”, he added.
And that strategy seemed to be just what the doctor ordered as Creese came into Sunday with a different perspective.
Starting the first match of the day against Richard Antonio Garcia Andrade of Panama, Creese won 12-4 and started to get in the groove.
In Round 2, Creese won by tech fall over Daniel Isaac Ramos Alvarado of El Salvador 10-0.
Creese followed that up with another tech fall over Canadian Fotis Dechlan Papadopoulos 11-1.
In the semi-finals Creese won again by tech fall 10-0, this time over Yorkis Miscaloby Carvajal Lerbours of the Dominican Republic.
This pitted Creese against his first round opponent Panamanian Richard Antonio Garcia Andrade in the gold medal match.
However this time Creese cemented the deal pinning Andrade at 1:13 of the first period.
For his efforts, Creese was also named the 2018 Cadet Pan-Am Golden Boot recipient for being named tournament Outstanding Wrestler.
Creese finished by saying, “This whole experience has been really great. My coaches and teammates have been awesome and I would not trade this for anything but I am ready to get home to see my family and friends. I really appreciate all the support I have had through this journey from my family, friends, teachers and community.”