CUENCA, Ecuador Kirk Smith traveled to South America earlier this month and came back a gold medal winner as the Boise State University wrestler won the 84 kg (185 pounds) freestyle weight class at the Pan American Junior Freestyle Championships.

                Smith defeated Erik Feunekes of Canada in the final match to become one of five United States wrestlers to win their weight class in the freestyle competition.  The Americans won the team title with 74 points.

                He also competed in the Greco-Roman competition finishing fifth.  Smith lost to the eventual champion George Coba of Venezuela by injury default.

                Smith, who was named the Pac-10 Conference Freshman of the Year and became the first Bronco wrestler to earn NCAA All-American honors his rookie season in 2008, will train in the United States for a few weeks before traveling to Istanbul, Turkey to compete at the World Junior Championships July 29 Aug. 3 (Tuesday-Sunday).

                A future Bronco wrestler also competed for the United States at the Junior Pan Am Games as Brian Owen finished second in Greco-Roman, and third in freestyle, at his weight class.  Owen, from Spokane, Wash., signed with the Broncos following an outstanding high school career.

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