In COVID-19 era, former Gophers wrestler Pat Smith juggles need for competition and compliance

It can be hard for Minnesotans to keep up with the state’s COVID-19 regulations, which have shifted and changed throughout the pandemic. Multiply that by four or five, and you’ll get a taste of what Pat Smith is trying to decipher.

The former Gopher from Chaska is resuming his globe-hopping ways, heading to Europe as he pursues an Olympic berth in Greco-Roman wrestling. That requires some extra preparation in the era of coronavirus. In between workouts, Smith has been educating himself on testing mandates in Croatia, mask rules in Sweden and what’s open and closed in France.

“I have to know entrance requirements for each country, and the protocols in connecting airports,” Smith said. “It’s definitely interesting. From what I can tell, I have to make sure I get a COVID test right before each one.”

The next place Smith visits will be Nice, France, for this weekend’s Henri Deglane Grand Prix. Smith is among 33 U.S. athletes participating in the tournament, which includes freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s wrestling. The Greco-Roman bracket is Sunday, with Smith competing at 77 kilograms (169.8 pounds). Continue reading at startribune.com →

Chasing medals must wait for Minnesota’s Olympic hopefuls

With the Tokyo Games now in 2021, local Olympic hopefuls reset dreams

Tori Dixon had begun to feel it was inevitable. With the sporting world essentially shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, and a rising chorus of voices pushing for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed, the Burnsville native had started to accept the fact that her Summer Games dream might be deferred.

She was still holding out hope, though, when she woke up Tuesday morning.

“Then I saw my phone was blowing up,’’ said Dixon, a member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team and a former Gopher. “And I read the news.

“Everyone had a million questions, but I was still trying to process what was going on. It was like a bomb dropped, and you just had to pick up the pieces.” Continue reading at startribune.com

Tony Nelson Wins Gold at 2020 Pan-Am Championships

Gophers alum and two-time NCAA Champion Tony Nelson (’14) took home the 125kg gold medal at the 2020 Pan-American Championships on Monday.

Nelson won three straight matches before getting an injury default in the gold medal match over Amarveer Dhesi of Canada. Nelson’s run began with a 2-2 criteria win before a 4-0 shutout in the following round and a semifinal pin in 70 seconds to advance. He was one of six American champions on the day.

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University of Minnesota Coaches Clinic set for October 25th

Headlining wrestling clinicians include Brandon Paulson, Sean Russell, and Pat Smith

The University of Minnesota wrestling team, led by Brandon Eggum and his staff, will once again host a coaches clinic this fall. The event will take place on Friday, October 25, 2019, at the Bierman Field Athletic Building in Minneapolis, Minn (516 15th Ave SE). The clinic offers professional instruction on the fundamentals and techniques of coaching wrestling and is open to all interested participants and fans of the sport.

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Smith goes 0-1 at the World Championships

Minnesota Storm wrestler Pat Smith (77 kg/169.5 lbs) lost his first match of the tournament to Germany’s Roland Schwarz, 5-3. Smith scored on a passivity point and a step-out to lead 2-0 after the first period. In the second period, Schwarz scored a passivity point to cut the deficit to 2-1. The German then scored with a four-point throw to go up 5-2. Smith would add a step-out point, but it wasn’t enough.

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Smith receives his draw at the World Championships

Minnesota Storm wrestler Pat Smith (77 kg/169.5 lbs) begins his second World Championships against 2019 European silver medalist Roland Schwarz of Germany. Schwarz was 7th in the 2018 World Championships and 5th in the 2018 Military World Championships. Smith’s previous World Championships appearance was in 2015.

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Former Gophers wrestler Pat Smith is peaking as 2020 Olympic Trials approach

If he had a bigger ego, Pat Smith might have been insulted. Instead, the former Gophers wrestler from Chaska was simply amused by Kamal Bey’s boast.

Before their bout at last spring’s Final X tournament, Bey compared himself to a Ferrari — and said Smith reminded him of a Honda Civic. It didn’t bother Smith at all, partly because a Civic would have been a major upgrade for him. At the time, he was driving a decrepit 2001 PT Cruiser, one that was headed for the junkyard before he bought it from a co-worker with the $80 he had in his wallet.

“It’s not quite a Honda Civic,” Smith said, chuckling. “But I think it fits me well.”

Smith got the last laugh, beating Bey in a best-of-three series at Final X to win a place on the U.S. Greco-Roman team for wrestling’s world championships. He begins competition Monday in the 77-kilogram weight class (169.8 pounds) in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. The nine-day tournament, which starts Saturday, is the first chance for countries to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Continue reading at startribune.com

Pat Smith Prepared for World Championships

Former Gophers wrestler Pat Smith is set to represent USA Wrestling next week when he competes at the 2019 United World Wrestling Championships in the 77kg (~169 lbs.) division in Greco-Roman. Smith’s section of the event will take place on September 16 and 17 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

Smith’s tournament will kick off on September 16 at Midnight CT with the qualifying rounds. If he advances, the next round would be at 6am with medal rounds coming on Sept. 17 at 5:30am.

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