Paulson Takes Bronze in Baku Tournament
BAKU, Azerbaijan – Former Iowa State national champion and Council Bluffs native Trent Paulson won the bronze medal at the Heydar Aliyev Golden Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan Sunday. Paulson is a U.S. Freestyle World Team member competing in the 66-kg (145.5-pound) division.
Paulson downed Azerbaijan’s Ruslan Dibirgaciyev in the bronze medal match after dropping the first period. ISU’s 2007 NCAA 157-pound champion rebounded to win by a score of 0-3, 1-0, 2-0.
ISU head coach and former U.S. National head coach Kevin Jackson liked what he saw from the former Cyclone.
“I’ve got to say that it was a successful trip for the most part for Trent (Paulson),” Jackson said. “His only loss was to an Olympic silver medalist so I’d say he should be right in the thick of things to get a medal at the World Wrestling Championships this year if he performs the same way.”
The winner of both U.S. Senior Nationals and the World Team Trials, Paulson went 3-1 in the tournament. Paulson’s only loss came in second-round action to the eventual Grand Prix champion, Andriy Stadnik of Ukraine, by score of 0-3, 3-5.
Paulson’s first tournament victory was over Russia’s Magomedgadzi Abakarov 1-0, 0-2, 1-0. After being bounced to the repechages (consolation rounds), Paulson took momentum early in downing Mongolia’s Batzorug Bunyanjav with a 6-0, 3-5, 3-1 victory. With the win over Bunyanjav, the former Cyclone advanced to the bronze medal match.
“I’m sure Trent gained valuable experience in his time over there and will be looking for the World’s come this fall,” Jackson said.
Also competing was Paulson’s twin brother and ISU three-time All-American Travis Paulson. Paulson placed ninth in the 74-kg (163-pound) division.
“In the tournament, Travis (Paulson) lost to a veteran world champion,” Jackson said. “I’m sure those results will get Travis to come back energized to work on the skills he’ll need to make the next world team and make an Olympic run for 2012.”
The U.S. Freestyle World Team crowned one gold medalist in Tervel Dlagnev at 120 kg (264.5 pounds). Champions in each weight division at the tournament in Baku received $10,000 with $5,000 for a silver medal and $2,000 for a bronze medal finish.
Jackson feels the success of ISU wrestlers on the international level will only help the program in its growth.
“It is very exciting for us to have Iowa State wrestlers competing on the senior level with the opportunities to wrestle in the World Wresting Championships and Olympic games,” Jackson said. “To have a national championship caliber team is one thing, but having world-class athletes that train with our wrestlers on a daily basis always helps your program and helps your recruiting. It helps our athletes compete for national championships when they are wrestling against competition in the room that is even better than what they’ll face in the NCAA finals.”
Overall, Jackson knows how significant it is for Cyclone wrestling to make its mark at the national and international levels of wrestling.
“It is very important to have the Iowa State flag flown in international competition,” Jackson said. “It continues the tradition that has been set here at Iowa State.”