Paulson Named TheMat com Athlete of the Week

By John Fuller | March 02, 2004, 12 a.m. (ET)
Brandon Paulson (Coon Rapids, Minn./Minnesota Storm) has been named TheMat.com Athlete of the Week for the week of Feb. 24-March 1. Each week, TheMat.com will select an Athlete of the Week, based upon performance within wrestling for that week. The selection committee will consider any level of wrestling, from youth programs through the Senior level. The announcement will be made each week on Wednesday. Paulson won a gold medal at 55 kg/121 lbs. at the first Greco-Roman Olympic Qualification Tournament in Novi Sad, Serbia-Montenegro, Feb. 28-29. The win qualified the weight class for the U.S. for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The U.S. has now qualified six of seven Greco-Roman weight classes. The 1996 Olympic and 2001 World silver medalist defeated 2000 Olympian Erkin Yildiz of Turkey, 1-1 on a referee's decision to win the tournament. In the semifinals, Paulson dominated 2003 World Cup bronze medalist Irakli Chochua of Georgia, 13-3. In the quarterfinals, he defeated Kamol Khomatov of Uzbekistan, 3-2 in overtime. Paulson defeated Andre Berge of Norway, 3-0, two-time Pan American Championships medalist Jorge Cardoso of Venezuela, 5-0 in overtime, and Hamou Oubrick of France, 5-0, to advance out of his pool into the quarterfinals. "Brandon has done a great job this entire tournament of preparing for his matches," USA Wrestling National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser stated. "He wrestled a very good and a very smart tournament. We are hoping he can use this momentum for the rest of this year." Paulson was a 1998 NCAA All-American at the Univ. of Minnesota. He was the first high school wrestler to ever earn a spot on a senior-level Team USA, becoming a member of the 1991-92 Greco-Roman National Team. He and his wife Rochell have two daughters, Sydney and Abby. THEMAT.COM ATHLETES OF THE WEEK FOR 2004 Feb. 24-March 1 - Brandon Paulson (Coon Rapids, Minn.) Feb. 17-23 - Alex Tsirtsis (Griffith, Ind.) Feb. 10-16 - Tyrone Lewis (El Reno, Okla.) Feb. 3-9 - Eric Larkin (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) Jan. 27-Feb. 2 - Joe Williams (Iowa City, Iowa/Sunkist Kids) Jan. 20-26 - Sara McMann (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
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