‘The Beast’ mauls competition, nabs gold in national championship

Second from left, Judo Olympic hopeful Christian “The Beast” Konoval won the 2019 USA Judo Senior National Championship while competing in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 1.

LAS VEGAS – Gregory-Portland High School junior and 2024 Olympic hopeful Christian “The Beast” Konoval won the 2019 USA Judo Senior National Championship while competing in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, June 1. 

The prestigious tournament is typically the largest adult 18+ Judo tournament on American soil where elite Judoka compete for ranking points that help towards Olympic team spot selections.

Konoval came out like an uncagged lion, mauling all three of his opponents to take gold in his Heavyweight Brown Belt division. He went on to fight in the Elite Black belt division where he repeated his previous year’s performance, capturing the bronze medal. 

Although Christian fell short of reaching the finals, he gave the spectators an outstanding performance, including a defeat over a 2008 Bejing Olympic and 4th degree Black belt player to bring home the bronze. 

Konoval trains under Sensei Rene Zeelenberg of Alamo Judo Club and was coached by his father, Adrian Konoval.