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The first Pan American Championships to be held on American soil ended with Team USA claiming gold in both the men’s and women’s team event Saturday at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. The two team gold medals contribute to a total of four medals, including Mariam Kamal and Haley Mendez’s women’s individual gold and silver respectively.
The team championships concluded the week-long competition which also included individual and doubles competitions.
Team USA claimed two medals in the individual competitions in an all-American final between Mariam Kamal and Haley Mendez. Kamal, the U.S. junior runner up upset both Chilean three seed Giselle Delgado and Colombian two seed Catalina Pelaez to reach the final. Mendez, also unseeded, defeated Chilean four seed Ana Pinto and Mexico’s top seed Diana Garcia in the semifinals. In the final it was Kamal who came out on top, consigning Mendez to a silver medal 11-7, 11-5, 12-10.
After early exits in the doubles competitions, the U.S. climbed back onto the podium with double gold in the men’s and women’s team competitions. The U.S. women swept both Chile and top-seeded Colombia to reach the final where they met Mexico. Victories from U.S. junior champion Marina Stefanoni and Kamal earned the U.S. a 2-1 victory over the two seeds and gold medals.
After losing against Mexico in the 2014 Pan American Championships semifinals, the U.S men avenged their loss with a 2-1 semifinal victory to reach the final against Argentina. Two, three-game victories at the top of the lineup by Todd Harrity and Chris Gordon clinched the upset over the two seeds and a second set of gold medals.
The Pan American Squash Championships, also referred to as the Pan American Federation Cup, are alternately contested for three years in between the quadrennial Pan American Games. Last year’s Pan American Games in Toronto saw Team USA top the medal table with six total medals.
The Pan American Squash Federation encompasses squash-playing nations in the Caribbean, North, Central and South America. The tournament format has seven gold medals at stake in men’s and women’s individual championships, men’s, women’s and mixed doubles championships, and men’s and women’s team championships.