It’s Go Time for Cael Sanderson at World Wrestling Championships
So it’s time for Cael Sanderson to take his comeback to the next level and attempt to do something he’s never done before—win a gold medal at the world wrestling championships.
He’s already won the U.S. World Team Trials after a seven-year layoff, and he dominated in his first international tournament since the 2004 Olympics. The worlds, which are being held in Istanbul, Turkey, started earlier this week with Greco-Roman and women’s events preceding the freestyle, and the hype has been building.
Check out this cover story from Wednesday’s USA Today, which mentions both his competitive success and his success coaching Penn State. It’s also worth clicking on this Des Moines Register link for a slide show of Sanderson’s Iowa State years, which includes a photo of Sanderson with some of his drawings (No. 4), a bobblehead that looks nothing like him (No. 14), and a posed shot with Iowa coach Tom Brands (No. 33).
Sanderson is considered the favorite at 185 pounds … by the Americans, at least. As this survey of international wrestling journalists shows, he’s not the consensus favorite. The Iranian writer picked the wrestler from Uzbekistan, for instance, and the Japanese journo likes the Russian. (And that’s how the U.S. writers tend to refer to wrestlers from other countries, by their nationalities. I keep wondering if Sanderson is known outside our borders as “The American.”) And it’s worth noting that Sanderson never dominated internationally the way he did in the U.S. The 2010 world champion, Bulgaria’s Mihail Ganev, is also in the field, and “the Uzbek,” Zaurbek Sokhiev, won the 2009 world title.
Istanbul is seven hours ahead of East Coast time, so Sanderson will be wrestling early. The good news is that you’ll be able to multitask if, like me, your Saturday routine generally revolves around College GameDay and the Penn State football game. ESPN3.com is broadcasting the tournament live (schedule here) starting at noon Saturday, and you can also see the action at themat.com (if the Internet connection at the arena holds). If Sanderson makes it into the medal round, which will be contested during the Penn State–Temple game, it will be possible to watch both.
For updates throughout the morning, I recommend following USAWrestling on Twitter. They’ve got a full contingent in Istanbul, of course, and they’re providing key updates on U.S. wrestlers without overwhelming your Twitter feed.
And remember there are additional Penn State connections. Assistant coach Casey Cunningham is one of the U.S. coaches, and two other Nittany Lion Wrestling Club members, Teyon Ware (145.5) and Sanderson’s training partner Jake Varner (211.5), are competing, too.
Lori Shontz, senior editor
P.S. For those of you needing a Penn State wrestling fix, WIN magazine’s preseason power index is out, with Frank Molinaro (149 pounds), David Taylor (up a weight from last season, 165), and Quentin Wright (defending NCAA champ at 184) ranked No. 1. The Nittany Lions, no surprise, are the No. 1 team.