Thursday, April 27, 2023

Adam Coon Among Five Olympians to Reach U.S. Open Senior Greco-Roman Finals

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | April 26, 2023, 9 p.m. (ET)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – It was a strong semifinals round for past Olympians at the 2023 U.S. Senior Greco-Roman Open, who went five-for-five on the raised mat in the South Point Arena.

Making the biggest noise was 43-year-old Aliaksandr Kikiniou of Poway, a past Olympian and World medalist for Belarus, who reached the finals in his first U.S. Open as a U.S. citizen. He scored an impressive 8-0 technical fall over No. 2 seed Payton Jacobson of Sunkist at 77 kg. Kikiniou hit a four-point throw, a two-point arm throw and a gut wrench for the first period win. His opponent in the finals is two-time U.S. Senior World Team member and past U20 World champion Kamal Bey of Army WCAP.

The four other past Olympians who made the semifinals are No. 1 Ildar Hafizov of Army WCAP at 60 kg, No. 3 Jesse Thielke of Army WCAP at 67 kg. No. 1 Ben Provisor of New York Athletic Club at 87 kg and No. 3 John Stefanowicz of the Navy Wrestling Club at 87 kg. All of these Olympians have competed for the USA, although Hafizov was also an Olympian for Uzbekistan before emigrating to the USA. Provisor has been on two U.S. Olympic teams.

Stefanowicz, a 2020 Olympian, returned to action after not competing last season. He will face No. 1 seed and two-time U.S. World Team member Alan Vera of the New York AC in the finals.

At 67 kg, No. 4 seed Robert Perez III of the Sunkist Kids stopped the run of U17 World champion Joel Adams of The Best Wrestler, with a 4-3 win in the semifinals. Unseeded Adams upset 2020 Olympian and top seed Alejandro Sancho of Army WCAP in the quarterfinals. Perez will face Thielke in Thursday’s finals.

At 72 kg, two-time World Team member and top seed Pat Smith of the Minnesota Storm fell behind unseeded Jack Ervien Jr of Viking Wrestling Club, IA, 6-0, but rallied to tie it up at 7-7 and won the match on a gut wrench, 9-7. He will face No. 6 seed and Nevada native Justice Scott of Army WCAP, who beat his Army teammate and returning U.S. Open champion Britton Holmes, 4-1.

2018 World medalist Adam Coon of New York Athletic Club/Cliff Keen WC made his return to the mat successful, earning a spot in the 130 kg finals against No. 1 seed and two-time Senior World Team member Cohlton Schultz of the Sunkist Kids. Coon has not competed since the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, where he defeated Schultz. Coon has been pursuing pro football, and defeated No. 2 seed (and college football player) Tanner Farmer of the New York AC in the finals.

In four weight classes, the top two seeds advanced into the finals. At 59 kg, No. 1 Brady Koontz (TMWC/Dubuque WC) will battle No. 2 Dalton Duffield (Army WCAP). At 60 kg, No. 1 Hafizov draws Army teammate and No. 2 Dalton Roberts. At 82 kg, No. 1 Provisor will wrestle No. 2 and 2022 World Team member Spencer Woods of Army WCAP. At 97 kg, No. 1 seed and past World Team member Josef Rau of TMWC/Wildcat WC) will battle No. 2 Nicholas Boykin of the Sunkist Kids.

The U.S. Open champion qualifies for Final X in Newark, New Jersey, May 10. The top seven placewinners in each weight qualify for the World Team Trials Challenge in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 20-21.

The Senior Greco-Roman medal matches are set for 4:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, live on FloWrestling.

At Las Vegas, Nev., April 26

Finals pairings

55 kg: No. 1 Brady Koontz (TMWC/Dubuque WC) vs. No. 2 Dalton Duffield (Army WCAP)
60 kg - No. 1 Ildar Hafizov (Army WCAP) vs. No. 2 Dalton Roberts (Army WCAP)
63 kg ¬ - No. 1 Sammy Jones (Sunkist Kids Wrestling) vs. No. 3 Hayden Tuma (Suples WC)
67 kg -. No. 3 Jesse Thielke (Army WCAP) vs. No. 4 Robert Perez III (Sunkist Kids)
72 kg - No. 1 Patrick Smith (New York AC) vs. No. 6 Justus Scott (Army WCAP)
77 kg - No. 1 Kamal Bey (Army WCAP) vs. No. 6 Aliaksandr Kikiniou (Poway)
82 kg - No. 1 Ben Provisor (New York AC) vs. No. 2 Spencer Woods (Army WCAP)
87 kg - No. 1 Alan Vera (New York AC) vs. No. 3 John Stefanowicz (Navy WC)
97 kg - No. 1 Josef Rau (TMWC/Wildcat WC) vs. No. 2 Nicholas Boykin (Sunkist Kids)
130 kg - No. 1 Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids) vs. No. 3 Adam Coon (New York AC)

Senior Greco-Roman semifinal results

55 kg:
No. 1 Brady Koontz (Dubuque Wrestling Club/TMWC) tech. fall No. 5 Jacob Cochran (Army WCAP), 9-0, 3:45
No. 2 Dalton Duffield (Army WCAP) tech. fall No. 6 Billy Sullivan (Army WCAP), 10-0, 3:51

60 kg
No. 1 Ildar Hafizov (Army WCAP) dec. No. 4 Mason Carzino-Hartshorn (West Coast Greco RTC), 7-1
No. 2 Dalton Roberts (Army WCAP) tech fall No. 6 Dylan Koontz (TMWC/ Dubuque WC/), 9-0, 1:52

63 kg ¬
No. 1 Sammy Jones (Sunkist Kids Wrestling) inj. dft No. 4 Xavier Johnson (Army WCAP), 0:00
No. 3 Hayden Tuma (Suples WC) dec. No. 2 Leslie Fuenffinger (Army WCAP), 1-1

67 kg
No. 4 Robert Perez III (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) dec. Joel Adams (The Best Wrestler), 4-3
No. 3 Jesse Thielke (Army WCAP) tech fall No. 2 Alston Nutter (Sunkist Kids), 11-2, 3:34

72 kg
No. 1 Patrick Smith (New York AC) dec. Jack Ervien Jr. (Viking WC, IA), 9-7
No. 6 Justus Scott (Army WCAP) dec. No. 2 Britton Holmes (Army WCAP), 4-1

77 kg
No. 1 Kamal Bey (Army WCAP) tech fall No. 5 Burke Paddock (New York AC), 9-0, 3:27
No. 6 Aliaksandr Kikiniou (Poway) tech. fall No. 2 Payton Jacobson (Sunkist Kids), 8-0, 1:57

82 kg
No. 1 Ben Provisor (New York AC) dec. No. 5 Andrew Berreyesa (New York AC), 4-3
No. 2 Spencer Woods (Army WCAP) dec. No. 6 Kendrick Sanders (New York AC), 7-0

87 kg
No. 1 Alan Vera (New York AC) tech fall No. 5 Zachary Braunagel (Illinois RTC/Illini WC), 9-0, 1:42
No. 3 John Stefanowicz (Navy WC) dec. No. 2 Timothy Young (Army WCAP), 6-2

97 kg
No. 1 Josef Rau (TMWC/Wildcat WC) tech fall No. 4 George Sikes (New York AC), 8-0, 4:14
No. 2 Nicholas Boykin (Sunkist Kids) dec. No. 3 Christian DuLaney (New York AC), 7-5

130 kg
No. 1 Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids) pin No. 5 Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm), 2:18
No. 3 Adam Coon (New York AC) dec. No. 2 Tanner Farmer (New York AC), 5-1

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Donovan Raiola | Nebraska Football O-Line Coach


Apr 25, 2023


“From the family perspective, The Pipeline, the tradition… he gets it.”


Coach Raiola x #GBR

Monday, April 24, 2023

Former Hawkeye Dallas Clark donated $101,000 to UI Stead Family Children's Hospital



Sat, April 22nd 2023, 12:49 PM EDT

Image Courtesy: Hawkeye Sports

Former University of Iowa consensus All-America tight end Dallas Clark was recognized Saturday for his contribution of $101,000 to the UI’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital during the open spring practice at Kinnick Stadium.

Along with the contribution to the Stead Family Children’s Hospital, Clark is making the same monetary donation to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Clark raised the funding for these donations through his participation in the Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii, last October.

Clark was able to compete in the Ironman Championship due to an exemption from the Ironman Foundation Team. The Ironman Foundation contributes to communities and organizations all around the world.

The Ironman competition consists of a 2.4-mile swim in the Pacific Ocean, a 112-mile bike ride along the coast on the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway and through the lava fields to Hawi. The third and final stage of the event is a 26.2-mile run. Clark completed the competition in 13 hours and 50 minutes.

“The entire process, from training and learning how to swim a long distance in the ocean after being raised in Iowa was a challenge that I embraced,” said Clark. “I absolutely loved the Ironman family and environment. It was very inspiring to train and compete with the other athletes.

“The Ironman Foundation is a phenomenal organization,” said Clark. “The idea of raising money for these two incredible hospitals played a large part in my motivation and journey. I became stronger mentally and physically through this preparation and competition, and I pray this money helps a child become stronger through their journey.”

Friday, April 14, 2023

Ravens OL Marshal Yanda to be inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame


A good start to the ultimate Hall of Fame...

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

On Thursday, Executive Director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl Jim Nagy announced the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame class of 2023. Among the inductees include Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Marshal Yanda.

Yanda joins four others, running back Chris Johnson, offensive lineman Lane Johnson, outside linebacker Clay Matthews, and running back Brian Westbrook, as 2023 inductees.

“Getting invited to the Senior Bowl was a big deal for me and my family. Understanding that getting that invitation meant you had a good chance of making an NFL roster the next fall,” Yanda stated. “It was a sign that my dream was becoming more and more a reality. I knew that playing in the Senior Bowl was only going to help me grow as a football player. I got to go up against a lot of great players and that definitely made me a better player. I had a great overall experience in Mobile.”

Marshal Yanda Profile (Courtesy of

NFL: Selected 86th overall in 2007 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens…played in 177 career games with 166 starts in his 13-year NFL career, all with the Ravens organization…member of Super Bowl XLVII champions that defeated San Francisco 49ers after the 2012 regular season…named first-team All-Pro twice (2014 and 2015) and second-team All-Pro five times (2011, 2012, 2016, 2018, 2019)…also eight-time Pro Bowl selection…member of NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2010’s, along with 2021 Senior Bowl Hall of Fame inductee Joe Staley of the 49ers…consecutively named as Pro Football Focus’ top-rated guard from 2014-2016…was added to Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor in December 2022
NCAA: Voted second-team All-Big 10 as senior by league’s coaches…played first two years of college at North Iowa Area Community College…received economics degree from University of Iowa

Ravens OG Marshal Yanda Headed to Reese's Senior Bowl Hall of Fame


The Reese's Senior Bowl is honoring accomplished NFL players who have come from the annual scouting event and Baltimore Ravens great Marshal Yanda is among this year's Hall of Fame inductees.

20 HOURS AGO (April 13, 2023)


The Baltimore Ravens inducted retired guard Marshal Yanda into their Ring of Honor in December of last season, and now he's receiving another enshrinement, in the Reese's Senior Bowl Hall of Fame.

"We are thrilled to be adding such an accomplished group of players to the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame," Executive Director Jim Nagy stated in a press release. "These men were among the best of the best coming out of college and they all went on to have incredible pro careers...we are grateful their NFL journeys began here in Mobile."

Yanda was a third-round pick out of Iowa by the Ravens in 2007. He started 12 games as a rookie and spent each of his 13 NFL seasons in Baltimore. During that stretch, Yanda went to the Pro Bowl eight times and was a first-team all-pro twice. 

And of course, he's also a member of the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl Championship squad

Joining him in this year's group of Hall of Fame inductees are former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson, former Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews, and former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook.

The Senior Bowl also announced its 2022 Rookies of the Year with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen taking defensive honors while Green Bay Packers receiver Christian Watson and Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce will be recognized as Co-Offensive Rookies of the Year.

The induction ceremony will be at The Grand Hotel Golf Club & Spa in Point Clear, Alabama on Sunday, June 2, 2023.

According to the Senior Bowl, "This past April, the game produced a record-tying 106 total picks for the second straight year, representing 40 percent of the entire NFL draft, including 45 of the top 100 players selected."


Thursday, April 13, 2023

Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel Named Hall of Fame Finalist in New England


Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was recently named a finalist for a spot in the New England Patriots' Hall of Fame after decorated career.

  • April 13, 2023

  • NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans are gearing up for the NFL draft and that includes head coach Mike Vrabel, but in the meantime, Vrabel was nominated and has been named a finalist for the New England Patriots' Hall of Fame. Out of 23 nominees, Vrabel been selected to be one of the finalists. 

    Vrabel was chosen as a finalist along with former Patriots' head coach Bill Parcells and former Patriots' offensive lineman Logan Mankins. While quite the honor, it should be no surprise to see Vrabel be chosen after he had such a decorated career during his time in New England.

    Vrabel played in 125 games over the course of 8 seasons with the Patriots. Amazingly enough, Vrabel only missed three games during that time. Vrabel was also incredibly productive racking up 606 tackles and 48 sacks. Vrabel created a good amount of turnovers as well forcing 13 fumbles and intercepting 11 passes.

    To go along with his defensive production, Vrabel famously added value on the offensive side of the ball as well. Vrabel caught eight passes for eight touchdowns in his eight seasons in New England and he added two catches for two scores in the playoffs.

    Speaking of playoffs, Vrabel spent a lot of time playing in them with the Patriots. Vrabel won three Super Bowls in New England playing next to Tom Brady. It wasn't just team accolades though, Vrabel also made the pro bowl and first-team all-pro in 2007

    While Vrabel is certainly excited about being a finalist and seeing his fantastic playing career appreciated, he is certainly busy with his current responsibilities as Titans' head coach. While Vrabel prepares for the draft and the season to come, he will have to wait and see if he is selected out of the finalists.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2023

    The best world-class wrestlers are on another level: Stephen Neal


    1. Post author:Tom Shanahan
    2. Post published:April 11, 2023


    PHOTO: LSU’s Angel Reese (10) and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark lifted their sport in the 2023 NCAA women’s Final Four, but the discussion later shifted to taunting.


    Visit my website homepage, TomShanahan.Report




    We should be still awash in the glow surrounding the 2023 LSU-Iowa NCAA women’s basketball title. The parallels with the 1979 Michigan State-Indiana State men’s championship deserve more discussion.

    When Michigan State’s Magic Johnson faced Indiana’s State’s Larry Bird, the showdown captivated the nation. The 24.1 TV audience rating remains a record (as does Michigan State’s record TV audience of 33 million against Notre Dame in the 1966 Game of the Century).

    In the aftermath, network broadcast rights soared. Final Fours were moved from 15,000-seat basketball arenas to 60,000-plus football stadiums. The men’s game has never looked back. Seth Davis, the acclaimed sportswriter and CBS studio host, wrote a 2010 book about the game’s impact: “When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball.”

    So, what might LSU and Angel Reese defeating Iowa and Caitlin Clark mean to the women’s basketball’s future? The game drew a record ESPN TV audience of 9.9 million, including a peak audience of 12.6 million.

    Sadly, though, the blame game overtook discussions of exciting progress in women’s game credibility. Reese was unfairly singled out for taunting Clark. The social media world jumped on Reese, even though two days earlier in the semifinals Clark used the same fake wrestling taunt against her vanquished opponent, South Carolina.

    But don’t blame Reese or Clark.

    Blame John Cena, who acts out fake wrestling scripts, for popularizing a taunt of waving his hand across his face to say, “You can’t see me.”

    When did unsportsmanlike behavior become cool?

    Fake wrestling – please don’t call it pro wrestling – has sunk its ugly tentacles into legitimate sports. Fake wrestling is the Kardashians of the sports world – popular and profitable but shallow.

    The other Magic-Bird parallel, of course, was the elephant in the room.

    Reese is Black and from a city background, Baltimore. Clark is White and from a farm state, Iowa. An uncomfortable Black vs. White conversation emerged because, well, this is America. Reese got trapped into a villain’s role.

    But it didn’t have to be that way. Magic is Black and from the city courts in Lansing, Michigan, while Bird is white and from the countryside, French Lick, Indiana.

    Yes, the comparisons are different since Magic’s effervescent personality and Bird’s dour avoidance of the media were both well-known from a season of national coverage. Magic and Bird were wary of each other in college but only because they didn’t know each other. They became great friends and rivals in the NBA.

    So far, we’ve only just met Reese and Clark. We don’t know enough about their personalities. They’ll probably like each other if they meet – they’ll learn just as Magic and Bird they share plenty in common despite different backgrounds.

    When Reese and Clark next meet they should mimic Cheryl Miller, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Maya Moore, Candance Parker, Brittany Griner or others. Not John Cena. He wouldn’t survive 10 seconds against a legitimate world-class wrestler.

    Or take a page from LeBron James.

    Remember the 2015 NBA finals when James, then playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, warmed up before Game 3 of the NBA finals against Golden State? James saw Cleveland Browns legend Jim Brown sitting courtside and bowed to him.

    There is so much cruel irony to fake wrestling’s popularity overtaking the women’s Final Four storyline. Legitimate wrestlers toil in anonymity while scraping up funds to pursue their dreams of Olympic glory. Fake wrestlers make their money acting out scripts written on the backs of a sport dating to the original Greek Olympics.

    Stephen Neal, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, was a two-time NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion, winner of the Dan Hodge Trophy (college wrestling’s Heisman) and the 1999 World Wrestling Championship freestyle heavyweight gold medal in Ankara, Turkey, before he took up football.

    When Neal joined the Patriots, his teammates asked him if he wanted to go into pro wrestling. Sportswriters learn early legitimate wrestlers don’t think that question is funny. Neal responded he wasn’t into acting. Neal’s teammates, legitimate athletes, didn’t understand the absurdity of the question. They didn’t ask Tom Brady after filming his first commercial if he planned to go into acting.

    And for fake wrestling enthusiasts reading this, don’t toss Brock Lesnar’s name into the ring for credibility. For one, Neal beat Lesnar in the 1999 NCAA final to finish an unbeaten season. Neal moved onto a 10-year NFL career. Lesnar won his NCAA title in 2000, but when he tried to cross over into the NFL, he was cut by the Minnesota Vikings. Then, he cashed in on fake wrestling. The best world-class wrestlers are on another level. Nobody compares Tom Brady with his backups.

    The taunting imbroglio also ensnared the First Lady, Jill Biden. She attended the final and was so enthralled with the performances she naively suggested both LSU and Iowa visit the White House. Her focus was on viewing the 2023 Final Four as a transformative moment.

    She didn’t understand runners-up don’t share the stage with champions. And no doubt Larry Bird would have scoffed at an invitation to join Magic’s White House stage as a friend or a foe. The First Lady’s office issued a clarification. It was a mistake inflamed by the blame-game backlash.

    Remember that Reese and Clark are college kids. They’ll learn with time life turns around to bite you from behind. But maybe, hopefully, they’ll avoid stooping to mimic fake wrestling taunts.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2023

    Nate Ebner tells the story of his trip to the Olympic Games


    Sunday Patriots Notes

    Notes and thoughts on the Patriots and the NFL.


    Nate Ebner tells the story of his trip to the Olympic Games. Appearing on Chris Long’s Green Light podcast last week, former Patriots special teamer Nate Ebner spoke about a variety of issues. One of the most interesting parts of the conversation was him speaking about his trip to the Olympic Games in 2016; Ebner participated in the rugby 7s as part of the United States’ squad.

    Ebner, of course, had just signed a new contract extension with the Patriots ahead of his leave of absence.

    “I became a free agent after that 2015 season — well, I didn’t quite become a free agent — but I talked to Bill and we got the contract squared,” he said. “I was like, ‘Look, Bill, I’m glad we got that squared, but rugby’s in the Olympics and I want to try to do that.’ I said, ‘This is something that I want to do. I feel very conflicted.’ It wasn’t a question, it was more like ‘This is something I’m going to do and if you can’t get with that I totally get it. But I have to do this; I’d think about it my whole life if I don’t.’

    “We had that conversation, and instantly Bill is like, ‘Oh yeah, go for it.’ He didn’t have any hesitation.”

    Ebner added that the Patriots ultimately went on to adjust his contract in order to account for his trip to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. That said, the whole experience was a positive one for the now-34-year-old.\

    “I never thought it would work out that well,” he said. “And then to get that support, that leadership from Bill and the Patriots organization, Mr. Kraft, they were all wearing my shirt and supporting me, stopped training camp to watch me play ... that’s a first-class organization. I don’t care what anybody says, that place is awesome. Great people, and that’s a great example of it.”

    Ebner, Long and the rest of the 2016 Patriots ultimately won the Super Bowl just six months after the Olympic Games.

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