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WEATHER UPDATE: Storm to blow through four countries in four weeks

Published February 12th, 2015 by MTC Staff

By Jason Bryant, MTC Storm

Meteorologists and wrestling coaches around the world are bracing for a four-week run of potential bad weather combined with awesome wrestling.

Fourteen members of the Minnesota Storm will embark on four different international events over the next four weeks, hitting some of the world’s best wrestling hotbeds in a continued quest for World and Olympic dreams.

From Feb. 12-15, two different “Stormfronts” will hit two powerful wrestling countries. Greco-Roman wrestlers Ryan Mango and Brian Graham leave the relative mild winter of Minnesota to head to Kremanshah, Iran for the annual Tahkti Cup, while Greco-Roman world medalist Andy Bisek and a quintet of freestylers will head to the much warmer Havana, Cuba for the Cerro Pelado y Granma Cup.

Joining Bisek will be Zach Sanders, Bebeto Yewah, Kevin LeValley, Dustin Schlatter and Tony Nelson. With Sanders, LeValley, Schlatter and Nelson heading south, that will leave the University of Minnesota coaching and support staff with fewer coaches remaining on the bench as the Gopher squad prepares for the National Duals. The Cerro Pelado is the freestyle portion of the tournament, while the Granma Cup is the Greco-Roman tournament.

The Takhti Cup is named after legendary Iranian wrestler Gholamreza Takhti, a multiple-time World and Olympic champion and regarded as the leader of the wrestling boom in Iran in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Takhti grew to a larger than life figure in Iran and inspired a generation of young men to take up the sport in Iran, including Khosrow Vaziri, who would later earn fame in the United States as “The Iron Shiek.”

The tournament holds great significance in Iran as it honors one of the sport’s all-time greats. Even today, there remain questions about his untimely death in 1968.

The Cerro Pelado y Granma Cup (y means and in Spanish), have been held in tandem in Havana for a number of years. The tournament is often a springboard for young Cubans to announce themselves on the World level as the federation has limited funds to send their athletes abroad for anything other than World, Pan American and Continental championships.

Mango and Graham will join Mason Manville, Jake Fisher, Joe Rau and Zac Nielsen in Zagreb, Croatia for the Zagreb Open, a Greco-Roman Grand Prix with many of the top Greco-Roman wrestling nations in attendance. Competition takes place Feb. 21-22. Typically dominated by the host Croatians and the neighboring Serbians, the Storm athletes will get a stiff test from the former Yugoslavian republics.

On March 7-8, Bisek, Rau and Holm will compete at one of the world's signature Greco-Roman events, the Hungarian Golden Grand Prix in Szombathely, Hungary. In 2014, World medalists Hamid Soryan of Iran, Tamas Lorincz of Hungary, Mark Madsen of Denmark, Taleb Nematpour of Iran and Turks Cenk Ildem and Riza Kayaalp all won gold medals. It's one of the key events on the 2015 United World Wrestling calendar.

Follow @MTCStorm on Twitter and Instagram for updates on the entire Storm team as they travel during the month of February and early March.

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