By Karen Price | Feb. 10, 2019, 12:59 p.m. (ET)
Xavier Johnson of the USA lifts and throws Irakli Dzmirstarishvili of Georgia during the 2019 Grand Prix Zagreb Open on Feb. 10, 2019 in Zagred, Croatia.


A pair of U.S. Greco-Roman wrestlers are coming home with medals after this weekend’s  Grand Prix Zagreb Open in Croatia.

Xavier Johnson won the silver at 63 kg and G’Angelo Hancock earned the bronze at 97 kg on Sunday to highlight the weekend’s performances by U.S. athletes. 

Johnson, seeded eighth, went 3-0 in his matches on Saturday to earn a spot in the gold medal bout against fourth-seeded Islomjon Bakhramov of Uzbekistan. Bakhramov turned an early 4-2 lead into an 8-2 lead with a takedown and a gutwrench. He won 10-2 by technical fall for the gold. 

Johnson defeated Georgia’s Irakli Dzmirstarishvili by pin, Croatia’s Luka Prihistal by forfeit and Poland’s Dawid Ersetic by technical fall 10-0 to reach the championship match. 

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Earlier in the day Hancock, defeated Adam Varga of Hungary 4-1 for the bronze at 97 kg. The two-time senior world team member started the tournament with a pair of wins, defeating Iran’s Abolfazi Seyedmahdavi by pin in a minute and a half and South Korea’s Seyeol Lee 5-1. 

He was pinned by Russia’s Ilia Borisov in 2½ minutes in the semifinals.

Varga took consecutive passivity penalties to start the match for bronze and a headlock by Hancock gave him a four-point lead. 

Travis Rice also made it to the bronze-medal match at 63 kg, but lost to Firuz Tukhtaev of Uzbekistan in a 9-0 technical fall and finished fifth. 

The Zagreb Open is the first United World Wrestling Greco-Roman ranking tournament of the year. Athletes who make a medal match in ranking tournaments earn points which are then used to determine the top four seeds at the World Championships in Kazakhstan.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.