Minnesota club wrestler Rau one step closer to Rio

Joe Rau won a provisional spot on the U.S. team for the Rio Olympics.

IOWA CITY – The night before he wrestled at the Olympic trials, Joe Rau did a little reading while fighting with his nerves. “It was a sports psychology book,’’ said Rau, who trains with the Minnesota Storm. “It said when something bad happens, don’t dwell on it. Get your focus back.’’

That turned out to be the perfect lesson for Saturday’s championship series. Rau was thrown to his back and pinned by Caylor Williams to end the first match of their best-of-three series in the Greco-Roman 98-kilogram class. After winning the second, Rau trailed by a point as the clock ticked down in the final match.

A late two-point move gave Rau the victory, making him the first wrestler with Minnesota ties to win a provisional place on the U.S. team for the Rio Olympics. Three members of the Storm club made the finals on the first day of the trials at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. But Chaska native and former Gopher Pat Smith fell 2-1 to RaVaughn Perkins in the Greco-Roman 66 kg class, and Greco veteran Jake Clark was swept by Ben Provisor at 85 kg. Continue reading at www.startribune.com