By Storm Contributor

Published 12/23/2023

Fort Worth, Texas – December 15-16, 2023

The Minnesota Storm Wrestling Club sent a formidable contingent of 15 athletes to the USA
Wrestling’s largest qualifying tournament for the upcoming Olympic Trials. Held in Fort Worth, Texas, the US Senior Nationals showcased the nation’s top wrestlers, with the stakes at an all- time high as the top 5 contenders in each of the 6 Olympic weights earned coveted berths to the Trials in State College, PA on April 19-20.

The Minnesota Storm left a significant mark on the event, producing four new Olympic Trials qualifiers, bringing the club’s total to an impressive five. The squad also clinched a notable seven top-eight finishes, highlighting continued improvement and presence in the Greco Roman community.

The tournament witnessed some of the deepest brackets seen in a US National event in recent years. Although, none came home as Champion, the Minnesota Storm wrestlers stood toe-to- toe with the nation’s elite, signaling a positive trajectory leading up to the crucial Olympic Trials in April.

Olympic Trials qualifiers and Coach Dan Chandler

Olympic Trials qualifiers from left to right – Coach Dan Chandler, Dylan Gregerson, Taylor LaMont, Richard Carlson, Pat Smith, and Donny Longendyke.

Highlights from the Tournament:
Dylan Gregorson (60 kg): 3rd Place Gregorson, in his second appearance in a Storm singlet, delivered a standout performance by securing 3rd place in the mini-tournament. With a 5-1 record over the weekend, he stamped his ticket to the Olympic Trials and established himself as a top contender in the weight class, with his only loss coming in a closely contested 3-3 criteria decision against 2-time world team member Sammy Jones.

Taylor Lamont (60 kg): 4th Place In his debut competition since joining Minnesota for Olympic training, Lamont looked strong with a 4-1 record. His victories included impressive wins over World Team Member Brady Koontz and multiple-time national team member Dalton Duffield, solidifying his spot in the Olympic Trials before defaulting to teammate Gregorson in the 3rd place match.

Pat Smith (67 kg): 5th Place The seasoned 4-time World team member, dropping down to a weight class he hadn’t seen since 2016, posted a commendable 5-2 record. Securing the last qualifying spot for the Olympic Trials, Smith used the tournament as a valuable test event for his new weight class in preparation for his 4th Olympic Trials.

Richard Carlson (87 kg): 3rd Place Carlson showcased one of the most impressive performances for the team, posting a 4-1 record on the weekend. His victories included notable wins over 2021 Olympian John Stefanowitz and 2023 World Team member Zac Braunagel, earning him a well-deserved qualification for his second Olympic Trials.

Richard Carlson attempts a lift during a match against Olympian John Stefanowicz.

Richard Carlson attempts a lift during a match against Olympian John Stefanowicz.

Donny Longendyke (130 kg): 4th Place Longendyke displayed strength and determination in securing his 3rd Olympic Trials qualification, finishing fourth in the mini-tournament at heavyweight with a 3-2 record.

While 97-kilogram wrestlers Christian Dulaney (6th) and Mac Kukowski (8th) narrowly missed a qualifying spot, both earned All American honors. Other notable performances included Fritz Schierl (87 kg) and Paxton Creese (60 kg), who narrowly missed the top 8 but showcased promise for future competitions.

The Minnesota Storm Wrestling Club plans to build on their solid showing as they climb towards the Olympic Trials. Wrestlers not yet qualified will have a final chance at the Last Chance Qualifier in Fairfax, Virginia on April 6-7, where champions at each of the 6 Olympic weights will secure the last qualifying spots.

As these athletes continue their rigorous training both domestically and internationally, support from fans and sponsors becomes pivotal. Those interested in being part of this journey can visit the Join the Storm page or reach out to [email protected]. The Minnesota Storm Wrestling Club is gearing up to make a significant impact on the road to Olympic glory, and the wrestling community eagerly awaits their continued success.

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