By Brian Jerzak
If you are Anoka's Eli Paulson, you were almost pre-determined to be a wrestler. His dad – Brandon Paulson - is an Olympic Greco Silver medalist, and his grandfather – Doug Paulson – is a long-time wrestling coach. Eli was never pressured by anyone, despite his family connections, into athletics. When he needed time off, he got it. When deciding what to do in college, he was encouraged to look outside the family business and go his own way. Now, he is a state wrestling champion and a future Division I football player.
"I was first in wrestling rooms when I was two years old when my dad would go into Anoka or something to run a practice or Augsburg to run a team camp," Paulson said. "When I was three or four years old, I was in what Pinnacle calls the 'tough guy group.' It was a bit of a rough start because we were all about five, just trying to learn wrestling and not knowing what we were doing. I was just trying to get to dodgeball at the end of practice."
Before ever competing, Eli would go with his dad once or twice a week to work out at PINnacle Wrestling School, which his father co-owns.
"It wasn't all wrestling," Paulson explained. "We did a lot of agility and gymnastics – cartwheels and round-offs. When you are four years old, you don't have a lot of life experience and don't know what toughness means. I did a lot of crying and had to learn how to deal with it."