Where are they now: 10 years after vanishing, Cole Konrad is one of MMA’s greatest what-ifs

The saga of Cole Konrad has long been an obsession of mine. Or rather, how it ended and what happened afterward. The mystery and absurdity beneath it all.

I may be the only person under age 35 to feel that way, but I can’t help it. Because 10 years later, Konrad is still the unicorn. The undefeated champion who pulled off one of the sport’s great escapes. The 300-pound goliath who woke up one morning, tiptoed out the back door and vanished into thin air, never to be heard from again. Why? It’s a page of MMA lore that will forever read like a Mad Libs on meth: One of the most decorated American heavyweight wrestlers of his era, famously hailed by Brock Lesnar as “the strongest son of a b**** I’ve ever met,” yet he throws it all away overnight without even a look back?

Just to work in dairy??

“Cole Konrad was the toughest guy in the room. In Brock Lesnar’s room, with all the Minnesota wrestlers, he was the guy,” remembers longtime coach Erik Paulson. Continue reading at mmafighting.com →

The Guillotine – April 14, 2022

The April 14, 2022 issue of The Guillotine has arrived! Content in this issue includes: Deciding To Be Great – Cole Konrad | Lace ‘Em Up | Camps-Clinics-Training | MWCA Report | Doing It On Their Own – Dennis Whitman and Medford Wrestling | The Guillotine High School Pound-For-Pound Class Rankings | View From The Matbird Seat | Officially Speaking | First-Time Wrestler, First-Time Champion – Apple Valley’s Grace Alagbo | Where Have They Gone? Brad Huckle | Ask The Doc | Performance Nutrition – What Do You Have With Your Eggs? | Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Awards.

View this issue below.

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Deciding To Be Great – Cole Konrad

By Brian Jerzak

When former Wisconsin state champion, Gophers’ national champion, and MMA champion Cole Konrad started wrestling as a child, he was immediately taken by the sport. Coming up through his feeder program and during his junior high and varsity career, he was a solid, reliable wrestler. After falling short of a state title his junior year of high school, a switch flipped in Konrad’s mind.

“I decided I was sick of losing, so I wasn’t going to do it anymore.”

Konrad decided good wasn’t good enough. He decided to be great. He took more losses during his career, but they were few and far between from then on.

“I started in a youth club in my hometown,” Konrad said. “It was just what we did as kids. My dad and uncle wrestled in high school; they loved the sport, which led me to get involved. That got me wanting to be around it.”

Konrad found enjoyment in the sport right away.

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Mini-Wins Lead to Major Growth

Matt Everson and Saint Thomas Academy

By Brian Jerzak

For programs that are not traditional wrestling powers, traditional victories don’t always come right away. Improvements start with more subtle victories. New Saint Thomas Academy co-head coach Matt Everson used mini-wins to help build the East Ridge program into a section champion. Now, he hopes to do something similar at STA.

Everson is a second-generation wrestler.

“I was four years old when I started wrestling. My dad wrestled in high school and a little bit in college. His brother was a national runner-up for an NAIA school – Northern State University – in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I have an older brother and a younger brother; we all wrestled growing up. Wrestling became part of our DNA.”

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The Benefits of Change – Garrison Solliday

By Brian Jerzak

There have been plenty of times when St. Thomas Academy senior Garrison Solliday could have quit wrestling. He has been at a crossroads in his wrestling life more than once. Each time, teammates helped him decide to stick with the sport and stick with his school. They were decisions that benefited Solliday, benefited his teammates, and benefited the entire school.

Solliday’s father grew up knowing the benefits of wrestling.

“My dad wrestled for a little bit, but he ended up playing basketball,” Solliday said. “He grew up in a small town in Iowa, and wrestling was the thing that everyone did. He was very exposed to wrestling right away. He always liked wrestling. I was in third grade and wasn’t in a winter sport, so he decided to put me in wrestling – just for a year to see if I liked it. Wrestling and I were very compatible. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication, and I enjoyed the season. That is when my dad realized I had some potential, so he started to get me more involved in wrestling – going to more camps and tournaments. I ended up liking it.”

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Saint Thomas Academy Names Former East Ridge Coaches as Co-Head Wrestling Coaches

Matt Everson and Graydon Anderson bring passion for wrestling and developing young men to the Academy

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. – Saint Thomas Academy has named Matt Everson and Graydon Anderson co-head varsity wrestling coaches. Both Everson and Anderson were most recently with the East Ridge High School wrestling program, as head coach and assistant head coach, respectively. Anderson also served as head coach for freestyle + Greco wrestling. Both bring passion for the sport of wrestling and years of coaching experience at the high school level to the Academy.

“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Coach Everson and Coach Anderson to the Cadet athletic family,” said Interim Athletic Director Dan O’Brien. “They bring years of successful experience developing young men through the sport of wrestling. I’m confident they will be a great addition to Saint Thomas Academy.”

While at East Ridge, the duo developed a struggling program into section champions that ultimately placed 6th in the state team tournament in 2019. They had 9 individual section champions, 7 of whom went on to place in the 2019 state tournament.

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