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Monday, August 18, 2008
Updated: August 25, 6:05 PM ET
N.H. Boys' Track Athlete of the Year

In its third decade of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, Gatorade joined with RISE Magazine to name senior distance runner MATT PAULSON of CENTRAL HIGH in Manchester as its 2007-08 New Hampshire Boys' Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

The senior distance runner won the 1,600-meter event at the state's Meet of Champions with a time of 4:12.91, which ranked as the nation's No. 40 scholastic performance at the time of his selection. The returning New England Outdoor Track and Field Championships 1,600-meter champion, Paulson captured first place in the 800-meter race at the Class L state meet with a state-record time of 1:53.42, the No. 82 prep performance nationally at the time of his selection.

Paulson has maintained a 3.97 GPA in the classroom. The sports editor for the school newspaper, The Little Green, and the vice president of his class, he donates his time as a mentor and instructor at the Special Olympics in addition to volunteering as part of multiple community-service initiatives on behalf of the National Honor Society.

"In a nutshell, I've coached track and other sports for 10-plus years, and I could go another whole lifetime of coaching without getting an athlete like this," said Central High head coach Steve Signor. "The records he's broken are his own records that he broke last year. Everyone is trying to figure out which events he's going to run, so they can run other events, because they know Matt's going to win. It's amazing to watch him run."

Paulson remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.