WELLSTONE, Monday, Tom Brands among honorees

Monday, June 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone and three former Olympic champions were among those inducted Saturday night into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Wellstone, D-Minn., was inducted into the Hall of Outstanding Americans for his contributions to a sport he competed in at the high school and college level.

The five Distinguished Members inducted were former wrestlers Kurt Angle, Tom Brands and Kenny Monday, coach Alan Rice and official Rick Tucci.

Wellstone went undefeated for two seasons at the University of North Carolina and won the Atlantic Coast Conference title. He went on to teach 21 years at Carleton College in Minnesota and remained involved with wrestling, helping with the school's program, coaching at a nearby junior high and officiating matches when needed.

During his 10-plus years in politics, Wellstone has become an advocate in working to preserve family farms and rural community life. He has served on numerous Senate committees, including the Small Business and Veterans Affairs Committees, the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee.

Monday was an NCAA champion in 1984 at Oklahoma State, then went on to win a gold medal at 163 pounds the 1988 Seoul Olympics and a world championship in 1989.

Brands was a three-time NCAA champion at Iowa. He joined his twin brother, Terry, as a world champion in 1993, winning at 136 1/2 pounds, and three years later won the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics.

Angle, who has since become a pro wrestler, won two NCAA heavyweight titles at Clarion University. He was world champion at 220 pounds in 1995 and won Olympic gold in Atlanta in 1996.

Rice was coach of the U.S. Greco-Roman Olympic team in 1972 and was a leading pioneer in the sport. Tucci refereed at four Olympics and 60 world championships at all levels.