Ex-Olympian Paulson makes trip with wrestling team

by Allison Younge

Michael Rand

A familiar face will be along for the ride — and maybe more — during the Gophers wrestling team’s dual meets Friday at Northwestern and Sunday at Purdue.
Brandon Paulson, a 1996 Olympic silver medalist and former 118-pound starter for Minnesota, retired from wrestling last spring with one year of college eligibility left.
At the time of his decision, Paulson said he felt burnt out, but added that his coaches “left it open” for his return to the team.
That time is now, said an official in the men’s sports information department, who confirmed that Paulson made the trip with the team this weekend but did not know if he would wrestle.
Paulson compiled a 79-29 record at 118 pounds during his first three years as a Gopher. Minnesota’s current starter at that weight, Brett Lawrence, has a 16-10 overall record this season.
Members of the Gophers team and coaching staff were in transit Thursday and could not be reached for comment.
Regardless of whether Paulson wrestles this weekend, the Gophers will work to improve their individual Big Ten seedings in their final two conference dual meets.
With the Big Ten tournament just two weeks away, the Gophers are beginning one of the most crucial periods of their season.
“We’re starting our peaking phase,” Gophers assistant coach Joe Russell said. “This weekend holds significance because it could affect people’s seedings at the Big Tens.”
Sophomore Delaney Berger will fill in for Brandon Eggum at 177 pounds for the second week in a row. Eggum, the Gophers’ regular 177-pounder, suffered a knee injury during Minnesota’s match against Penn State on Feb. 6.