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WHO IS THE IOWA HS WRESTLING GOAT?!?! The Case For Trent Paulson, CB Lewis Central


In the last GOAT article on Mark Sindlinger, I mentioned being happy to be finished with the 4xers (which I decided to do first in this series), because it’d give me a chance to quit leaving out the bigger guys who may have won 3 titles, but were out-manned at upper weights as Freshmen. However, it also makes me happy, for now the 1-2Xers who have GOAT cases won’t be left out either. And I couldn’t plug them into the “How Close Were The 3Xers To Winning 4” either, so finally these guys won’t be neglected on here. Some of the greatest wrestlers in our state’s history only won 1-2 titles. Heck, some of Iowa’s greatest wrestlers never even won one state title. Look at Drew Foster from Mediapolis…D1 National Champ for UNI in 2019. He never won state. Not because he wasn’t good enough to. And he wasn’t a late bloomer either. He won 6 AAU titles for my dad and Jim Drain’s Mepo Youth Wrestling Club from K-8th… So he was good from the start and stayed really good and kept getting better no matter how good he became. It didn’t surprise Mepo when he won nationals. Drew never won state, for he barely fell short a couple times in brackets in which the champion averaged 3 titles to their name. So he fell just shy…against the state’s absolute best competition, year in, year out. It can happen to anyone. It happened to Trent his first two years in HS.

To start, if someone were to say that Trent Paulson does not belong in the GOAT discussion than they are surfing on waves of total blissful unawareness and are likely to have a large percentage of neanderthal in their DNA. Trent Paulson, along with his Twin brother Travis has been one of the greatest wrestlers to come out of Iowa at every level, starting with kids. Trent was the first ever 6 time AAU state champions as a youth wrestler. Don’t believe me? Ha! Well we had an awesome wrestling mom that taped almost everything everywhere she went:


In HS he placed 3-2-1-1…. We will get to that.

In college, he was a 3X AA and a D1 National Champion for the Iowa State Cyclones. He also made a world team.  He started out as one of the elite guys and continued to be one of the elite guys throughout his entire career.

In offseason HS competition for Trent, he was a 3X Greco Roman National Champion, a runner-up at the National Senior HS wrestling championships and competed in the Dapper Dan Classic as a member of the US All Star Team.

So in high school sanctioned competition, Trent fell short in a close match to 2X state champion and Junior at the time from Urbandale, Mark Hangsleben and went back to place 3rd. This was at 119 lbs… a rather tough weight for Freshmen. As a Sophomore, he lost to Ryan Heim from Dubuque Hempstead in the finals in another close match. Heim was also a 2X state champion and was also two years older than Paulson. Both Hangsleben and Heim were highly sought after D1 recruits with Hangsleben ending up at Lehigh, I believe and Heim at Iowa where his career was cut short due to a tragic car accident.

Trent Paulson finished his career with a record of 192-2…. both losses, as mentioned, at state. He finished on a 102 match winning streak. His career wins mark of 192 used to be the Iowa record. In his final two years, he won state handily in brackets that included a lot of great guys. See for yourself below.

Does Trent Paulson have a case?!?! Do I even need to answer that? You are fooling yourself if you think otherwise. Was literally one of the best in his age group nationally since he began wrestling… and that goes for his twin brother, Travis as well…


1999 3A 119

  1. Mark Hangsleben, Jr., Urbandale
  2. Ricky Pence, Cedar Rapids Prairie
  3. Trent Paulson, Fr., Council Bluffs Lewis Central
  4. Aaron Madison, So., Johnston
  5. Mike Vagher, Sr., Cedar Rapids Jefferson
  6. Merlin Weissheier, Jr., Fairfield


2000 3A 135

  1. Ryan Heim, Sr., Dubuque Hempstead
  2. Trent Paulson, So., Council Bluffs Lewis Central
  3. Jacob Smith, So., Iowa City High
  4. John Tucker, Jr., Ames
  5. Greg Green, So., North Scott, Eldridge
  6. Max Sauerman, Jr., Urbandale



2001 3A 140

  1. Trent Paulson, Jr., Council Bluffs Lewis Central
  2. John Tucker, Sr., Ames
  3. Jeremy Gabel, Jr., LeMars
  4. Bobby Hessenius, Jr., Spencer
  5. Josh Schoonover, Jr., Waterloo West
  6. Jacob Smith, Jr., Iowa City High


2002 3A 145

  1. Trent Paulson, Sr., Council Bluffs Lewis Central
  2. Jacob Smith, Sr., Iowa City High
  3. Dallas Wilson, Sr., Cedar Rapids Prairie
  4. Donnie Nordstrom, Jr., Fort Dodge
  5. Willie Leonard, Jr., Dubuque Wahlert
  6. Chris Mickle, Sr., Boone

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