Mikel David Uyemura, of San Marino’s Titan Mercury Wrestling Club, has earned a berth on the 2022 U15 Pan American USA Wrestling team will compete for Team USA at 68 kg, which is approximately 150 pounds.
Uyemura recently traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, for trials for the Pan American Games, which were held Aug. 5-6. The athletes allowed into the trials were from a select group and had to qualify prior to the trials by either placing at the United States Open tournament in April or the Fargo Nationals, which were held in July. Athletes compete in the international styles of freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Mikel David placed sixth in the freestyle competition at the United States Open and followed that up with a runner-up placement in Greco-Roman at Fargo, making him a double All-American at that time. Once qualified, he knew that he would be competing at the Pan Am Trials and he maintained a rigorous training schedule that included weightlifting, pull-ups, running, wrestling, and watching his diet.
Uyemura would need the additional strength as he would be facing a wrestler from Pennsylvania who had beaten him at the United States Open and became the U15 Freestyle and Greco-Roman national champion. Day 1 of the Trials went well as Uyemura was able to win the Greco-Roman final by an 8-0 technical fall. He would need to place at least second in freestyle the next day to secure a spot on the team. There are 10 weight classes, and just one wrestler for each weight class will be selected for the team. Day 2 (featuring freestyle) opened with a narrow 10-8 win over an opponent from Maryland, who was 14U national runner-up. Uyemura would then avenge his five previous losses to his opponent from Pennsylvania with a 7-0 win, securing his place on the team with his second overall title. Six of the 10 weight classes on the boys’ side were comprised of athletes who won both styles and two of the 10 spots are now occupied by California natives.
An incoming freshman at San Marino High School, Uyemura has been competing in wrestling for eight years. He is a three-time USA Wrestling All-American and has also wrestled for the California national team each of the last two seasons. He has won three state titles as a youth as well as being state runner-up four times. He began competing when he was a second-grader at Carver Elementary School for Titan Mercury, where he continues to train.
Uyemura also competes in Olympic-style weightlifting, recently placing fourth in the 15U, 73-kilogram (160-pound) division at the Youth Nationals this past June as well as judo and football.
The Pan American Games for wrestling will be Nov. 4-6 in Rio Negro, Colombia, with 13 countries competing.