Two-time All-American Trent Paulson downed former two-time Missouri All-American Tyron Woodley in the 74 kg. finals to claim a freestyle title at the University Nationals Sunday and qualify for the World Team Trials in Sioux City. Paulson qualified for the World Team Trials last year in Ames by winning a 74 kg. Greco-Roman title at the 2005 University Nationals. Redshirt freshman Jake Varner and Kurt Backes registered third-place finishes at 84 and 96 kg., respectively, while 125-pounder Nick Fanthorpe and two-time All-American Travis Paulson placed fourth at 55 and 74 kg in freestyle.
"It's probably the biggest tournament I've won," Trent said. "I beat an NCAA finalist in the quarterfinals (Arizona State's Brian Stith), a national champion in the semifinals (Stanford's Matt Gentry) and a two-time All-American in the finals (Woodley). I'm going to keep working out with Travis. He pushes me better than anyone, along with (Cyclone Wrestling Club) coach (Tony) Ersland and (ISU assistant coach Tim) Hartung so I can be ready for the World Team Trials."
Trent Paulson began a tough stretch
against two-time Arizona State All-American and 2006 NCAA finalist Brian Stith
in the quarterfinals, but toppled the Sun Devil, 2-1, 3-0. Paulson defeated
Stith collegiately in the 2004-05 season and will be ranked behind Stith as they
begin their senior seasons at 157 pounds. Paulson proceeded to down former
Stanford 2005 NCAA champion Matt Gentry in the quarterfinals, 0-1, 2-0, 2-2. In
the finals Paulson squared off against the former Big 12 champion Woodley and
won, 1-1, 0-1, 1-1. Paulson grabbed third-place honors in Greco-Roman at 74 kg.
Varner advanced through the 84 kg. bracket in impressive style, defeating two-time Purdue All-American Ben Wissel for third and Oklahoma's Josh Weitzel (NCAA qualifier at Michigan), in the consolation semifinals.
Backes was untouchable through the 96 kg. bracket, scoring two technical falls and a pin before running into former Ohio State 197-pound All-American J.D. Bergman. Other than in the Bergman match, Backes did not allow a point. The Cyclone shut down former Lehigh wrestler Matt Cassidy in the consolation semifinals, 7-0, 2-0, before garnering third place honors over Hudson Taylor, 2-0, 4-0.
Travis Paulson rattled off five consecutive wins in the 74 kg. bracket before being sent to the consolations by Woodley in the quarterfinals. ISU 174-pounders David Bertolino and Grant Turner each recorded three victories at 74 kg.
The Iowa State wrestlers have on more chance to qualify for the World Team Trials in late May at the Northern Plains Regional in Waterloo May 4-6 in Young Arena.