World Medalists Coon and Kikiniou among 10 to advance to Final X with World Team Trials Challenge Tournament Greco-Roman titles

Minnesota Storm wrestlers Patrick Smith, Ryan Epps, and Christian DuLaney win Challenge Tournament

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Senior World medalists Adam Coon (130 kg) and Aliaksandr Kikiniou (77 kg) were among 10 Greco-Roman champions from today’s World Team Trials Challenge Tournament at Discovery Canyon High School to punch their tickets for Final X.

Today’s winners will compete in Final X against the 2023 U.S. Open champion at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on June 10.

Coon, a 2018 World silver medalist, scored a 9-0 technical fall over Donny Longendyke in the finals. Coon advances to Final X to face Cohlton Schultz of the Sunkist Kids, who defeated him in the U.S. Open finals in April. Coon had not wrestled until recently after pursuing professional football after the 2021 season.

Kikinou, a 43-year-old who won a 2009 World bronze medalist for Belarus, recently received U.S. citizenship and was second at the U.S. Open. He won his finals today with a technical fall over Payton Jacobson, 10-0. He earned a Final X rematch against Kamal Bey, who defeated him in the U.S. Open finals. Continue reading at →

Four Storm Athletes To Compete In Denmark

By Markos Tsegaye

Four of the Greco-Roman wrestlers from the Minnesota Storm are now in Denmark as they will be competing in the Thor Masters tournament from March 24-25.

Richard Carlson, Christian DuLaney, Fritz Schierl, and Lukas Poloncic will be those four representatives, an opportunity they are all looking to make the most of.

The Thor Masters tournament offers one of the better international tournaments and training camps in Greco-Roman wrestling. DuLaney said the Storm will be well prepared for what’s to come in Denmark.

“We’ve got world-class coaches,” DuLaney said. “They [Carlson, Schierl, and Poloncic] are around my weight and are great practice partners as well.” Continue reading at →

Ukrainian wrestler welcomed in Minnesota after escaping war

An internationally known wrestler from Ukraine is now training in Minnesota after escaping his war-torn homeland.

Zhora Abovian and his wife Khrystyna arrived in the Twin Cities last month.

“I am lucky to be here,” Abovian said.

He showed 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS a video he took from his apartment in Ukraine as Russian missiles hit the city.

“As soon as he approaches the window to look what’s happening, he sees the explosion,” said Ivan Gkach, who translated for Zhora during our interview. View/continue reading at →

Pat Smith wins Greco-Roman gold in Israeli tournament

BEER SHEVA, Israel – Three-time U.S. Senior World Team member Pat Smith (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) claimed a gold medal, one of three U.S. medals won on the first day of the Slaven, Halfen, Weinberg & Gottfruend Memorial on Thursday.

This tournament is held in commemoration of the fallen Israeli athletes from the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, which occurred 50 years ago, and is named in honor of the four wrestling victims of the Munich Massacre: Yossef Gutfreund (referee), Moshe Weinberg (coach) and wrestling athletes Eliezer Halfin and Mark Slavin.

Smith won his two bouts in a round-robin competition, with a pair of 8-0 technical falls, defeating Niko Nikladze of Israel and Aziz Boualem of Morocco. Continue reading at →