By Jason Bryant, MTC Storm
Las Vegas, Nev. -- For the second straight year, Minnesota Storm athlete Andy Bisek is coming home from Las Vegas with a 75kg bronze medal at the United World Wrestling Championships.
Bisek, who hails from Chaska, Minn., and also trains at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, came through one of the tournament’s most loaded fields, beating two World champions en route to the bronze medal at the Orleans Arena as the U.S. hosted the event for the first time since 2003. It was also the first time since 1979 American wrestling fans had an opportunity to witness a Greco-Roman World Championship.
Bisek along with Greco-Roman teammate Jordan Holm added to the growing list of Minnesota wrestlers to compete at the World Championships or Olympic Games. In freestyle, Bebeto Yewah also competed, representing his native Cameroon.
Rocking his trademark mustache, Bisek opened up with victories over Luis Avendano of Venezuela and Singh Gurpreet of India to reach the quarterfinals where he would face multiple-time world medalist Mark Madsen of Denmark. Madsen would claim a 9-0 victory and bounce Bisek out of championship contention. When Madsen defeated Iran’s Saied Abvaldi in the semifinals, Bisek was pulled back into the repechage where he would ultimately come back and win bronze.
“It was huge,” Bisek said to USA Wrestling after coming back to win a medal. “I started the day slower and I got a little down on myself. I lost in the quarters to a tough guy, but I was able to fire myself up and get it taken care of.”
While Bisek didn’t come to Vegas for bronze, his repechage performance included wins over past World champions Yavor Yanakiev of Bulgaria and Abdvali. He scored the 2-0 victory over Abdvali on a caution and two awarded after Abdvali hit Bisek with a defensive leg foul while in the par terre position.
Holm and Yewah lost their only bouts of the competition and didn’t get pulled back into bronze medal contention after their opponents failed to make the finals. Wrestling at 85kg, Holm fell in the round of 32 to Belarus’ Javid Hamzatav 3-1. It was Holm’s third straight World Championships appearance after coming back to competition in 2010.
Yewah, a 2012 NCAA Division III champion at Wisconsin-La Crosse, lost an exciting 9-7 bout to Mongolia’s Mandakhnaran Ganzorig in the round of 32 at 65kg in men’s freestyle. Originally from Cameroon and raised in Michigan, Yewah appeared to have Ganzorig, pinned at one point during the bout, but none of the three officials called for the fall. Ganzorig would finish in fifth place.
Now the focus turns towards Rio de Janeiro as the 2016 Olympic Games will come to South American for the first time. Bisek, Holm and Yewah will make strong cases to continue the streak of Storm athletes competing at every Olympic Games since 1968.
Let us know! (We may send you cool things.)