Cael Sanderson

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Cael Sanderson
Weight191 lb (87 kg)
Born (1979-06-20) June 20, 1979 (age 42)
Salt Lake City, Utah
High schoolHeber City (UT) Wasatch
State championships4 (Utah)
CollegeIowa State University
NCAA championships12 (4 competing, 8 coaching)
Olympic teamUnited States of America
Olympic medalGold
StatusHead Coach for Penn State Nittany Lions Wrestling
Medal record
Men's freestyle wrestling
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
Olympic rings.svg
Gold medal – first place 2004 Athens 84 kg
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2003 New York 84 kg
World Cup
Gold medal – first place 2003 Boise 84 kg
University World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2000 Tokyo 85 kg
Pan American Games
Bronze medal – third place 2003 Santo Domingo 84 kg
Cadet World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 1994 Frankfort 55 kg
Collegiate Wrestling
Representing the Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State Cyclones logo.svg
NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
NCAA logo.svg
Gold medal – first place 1999 State College 184 lb
Gold medal – first place 2000 St. Louis 184 lb
Gold medal – first place 2001 Iowa City 184 lb
Gold medal – first place 2002 Albany 197 lb
Big 12 Championships
Gold medal – first place 1999 Ames 184 lb
Gold medal – first place 2000 Lincoln 184 lb
Gold medal – first place 2001 Stillwater 184 lb
Gold medal – first place 2002 Norman 197 lb

Cael Norman Sanderson (/ˈkl/ KAYL; born June 20, 1979) is an American former folkstyle and freestyle wrestler who is the current head coach of Penn State University's wrestling team. As a wrestler, he won an Olympic Gold medal and was undefeated in four years of college wrestling at Iowa State University (ISU) (159–0), becoming a four-time NCAA Division I champion (1999–2002). He is the only wrestler in NCAA Division I history to go undefeated in official matches with more than 100 wins. Sports Illustrated named his college career as the second most impressive college sports feat behind the setting of four world records by Jesse Owens in a single hour at the 1935 Big Ten track and field conference championship meet.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Steve and Debbie Sanderson, Cael attended Wasatch High School in Heber City, Utah, where he was coached by his father, a former wrestler at the Brigham Young University. As a high school wrestler, Sanderson was a four-time UHSAA state champion (1994–97), like his brother Cody, and compiled a record of 127 wins and 3 losses.[2]

Wrestling career[edit]

College[edit]

Upon graduation, Sanderson followed his brothers, Cody and Cole, to ISU. After redshirting in 1997-98, Sanderson won all 39 of his matches to his first NCAA and Big 12 Conference titles at 184 pounds (his brother, Cody, was the runner-up at 133 pounds). He was also the first freshman in NCAA history to be named the Outstanding Wrestler (OW) at Nationals.[3] His next three seasons were virtually identical, compiling 40 wins and no losses in each and finishing with the only perfect record in NCAA Division I history at 159-0. By winning all of his matches, he became only the second wrestler in history to that point to win four NCAA Division I titles. He was also named the OW in all of the NCAA tournaments he competed in.[4]

Sanderson was a three-time Dan Hodge Trophy winner (equivalent to the Heisman Trophy), being the first to win the award multiple times and the only person to win it three times.[3] He holds the longest win-streak across all NCAA divisions.[5] All of this combined, makes him the most accomplished collegiate wrestler in the history of the sport.[6][7]

In 2017, Sanderson was inducted into the ISU Hall of Fame.[8]

Freestyle[edit]

Sanderson was a two-time US Cadet World Team Member, placing third and fourth in 1994 and 1995, respectively.[9] He was also a US University National Champion in 1999 and a University World Champion in 2000.[10]

He became the US National Champion in 2001, 2002 and 2003.[11] He was also an original US World Team Member in 2001 and 2002, however, he chose not to participate at the 01' World Championships to focus in folkstyle,[12] and the USA team chose to not compete in 2002.[13]

In 2003, he won the Manitoba Open in Canada in February,[14] placed second at the World Cup in April, third at the 2003 Pan American Games[15] and second at the World Championships.[16] In 2004, he once again claimed the Manitoba Open title[14] and won the US Olympic Team Trials.[17]

At the 2004 Summer Olympics, Sanderson claimed wins over Magomed Kurugliyev, Siarhei Borchanka, Majid Khodaei, Yoel Romero and Moon Eui-jae to become an Olympic Gold medalist in Athens, Greece.[18]

While already a full-time coach at Penn State, Sanderson came out of retirement in 2011[19] and took home an Ion Corneanu Memorial title,[20] won the US World Team Trials[21] and placed fifth at the World Championships.[22]

Freestyle record[edit]

World Championships & Olympics
Res. Record Opponent Score Date Event Location
2011 World Championships 5th at 84 kg
Loss 13–3 Russia Albert Saritov 0–1, 0–3 September 17, 2011 2011 World Wrestling Championships Turkey Istanbul, Turkey
Win 13–2 Iran Alireza Goudarzi 6–0, 1–0
Win 12–2 Kazakhstan Yermek Baiduashov 4–3, 0–1, 2–1
Win 11–2 South Korea Yoon Chan-uk Fall
Loss 10–2 Azerbaijan Sharif Sharifov 1-3, 1-4
Win 10–1 Mexico Alejandro Gallardo 6–0, 7–0
2004 Summer Olympics 1st place, gold medalist(s) at 84kg
Win 9–1 South Korea Moon Eui-jae 3–1 August 28, 2004 2004 Olympic Games Greece Athens, Greece
Win 8–1 Cuba Yoel Romero 3–2
Win 7–1 Iran Majid Khodaei 6–5
Win 6–1 Belarus Siarhei Borchanka 9–1
Win 5–1 Kazakhstan Magomed Kurugliyev 4–2
2003 World Championships 2nd place, silver medalist(s) at 84 kg
Loss 4–1 Russia Sazhid Sazhidov 3–4 September 12, 2003 2003 World Wrestling Championships United States New York, New York
Win 4–0 Georgia (country) Rezav Mindorashvili 4–2
Win 3–0 Armenia Mahmed Aghaev 3–0
Win 2–0 Iran Majid Khodaei 8–2
Win 1–0 Finland Tero Perkkioe 8–2

NCAA record[edit]

NCAA Championships Matches
Res. Record Opponent Score Date Event
2002 NCAA Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) at 197
Win 159-0 Scott Barker TF 21-4 March 21–23, 2002 2002 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
Win 158-0 Tom Grossman TF 24-8
Win 157-0 Jason Payne TF 23-7
Win 156-0 Justin Ruiz TF 25-9
Win 155-0 Scott Hollingsworth Fall
Win 154-0 Scott Barker TF 22-7
Win 153-0 Tom Grossman Fall
Win 152-0 William Gruenwald Fall
Win 151-0 Jon Trenge 6-1
Win 150-0 Jason Gore Fall
Win 149-0 Unknown Forfeit
Win 148-0 Kyle Smith Fall
Win 147-0 Will Gruenwald Fall
Win 146-0 Bill Stouffer Fall
Win 145-0 Tom Grossman Fall
Win 144-0 Erik Gladish Fall
Win 143-0 Jason Payne Fall
Win 142-0 Lee Fullhart 5-3
Win 141-0 Jon Trenge MD 16-5
Win 140-0 Chris Skretkowlz TF 22-5
Win 139-0 Nick Curby Fall
Win 138-0 Jim Kassner Fall
Win 137-0 Ryan Fulsaas Fall
Win 136-0 Jareck Horton Fall
Win 135-0 Bart George Fall
Win 134-0 Unknown Forfeit
Win 133-0 Joe Compton TF 23-7
Win 132-0 Aaron Granell Fall
Win 131-0 Brent Miller TF 20-5
Win 130-0 Greg Sawyer TF
Win 129-0 Daegen Smith Fall
Win 128-0 Peter Mosley Fall
Win 127-0 Nick Thomas Fall
Win 126-0 Chris Skretkowicz Fall
Win 125-0 Wallace Fall
Win 124-0 Bietz TF
Win 123-0 Broadway TF
Win 122-0 Kovarik Fall
2001 NCAA Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) at 184 lbs
Win 121-0 Daniel Cormier 8-4 March 15–17, 2001 2001 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
Win 120-0 Victor Sveda MD 21-7
Win 119-0 Jessman Smith TF 21-6
Win 118-0 Jeremy Wilson Fall
Win 117-0 Kyle Hanson TF 24-9
Win 116-0 Scott Barker TF 22-7
Win 115-0 Daniel Cormier 8-3
Win 114-0 Ry Stone Fall
Win 113-0 Kyle Hansen MD 21-8
Win 112-0 Matt Fletcher Fall
Win 111-0 R.D. Pursell Fall
Win 110-0 Ry Stone Fall
Win 109-0 Josh Lambrecht TF 21-10
Win 108-0 Shawn Scannel Fall
Win 107-0 Daniel Cormier 10-3
Win 106-0 Jessman Smith TF
Win 105-0 Andy Hrovat Fall
Win 104-0 Daniel Cormier MD 14-3
Win 103-0 Josh Lambrecht MD 16-8
Win 102-0 Ed Aliakseyenka TF
Win 101-0 Ralph Everett Fall
Win 100-0 Jason Rossotti Fall
Win 99-0 Ralph DeNisco MD 17-6
Win 98-0 Francis Volpe TF
Win 97-0 Nate Patrick MD 16-7
Win 96-0 Viktor Sveda MD 14-5
Win 95-0 Francis Volpe Fall
Win 94-0 Marcus Schontube 16-10
Win 93-0 Josh Bocks Fall
Win 92-0 Jessman Smith Fall
Win 91-0 Jeff Pangborn Fall
Win 90-0 Adam Kellogg Fall
Win 89-0 Bert Watford Fall
Win 88-0 Paul Okins TF 19-3
Win 87-0 Ben Blood TF 18-3
Win 86-0 Anton Talamantes MD 20-6
Win 85-0 Mike Odle Fall
Win 84-0 Viktor Sveda MD 16-3
Win 83-0 Josh Lambrecht MD 12-4
Win 82-0 Ralph DeNisco Fall
Win 81-0 Curcio Fall
2000 NCAA Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) at 184 lbs
Win 80-0 Vertus Jones MD 19-6 March 16–18, 2000 2000 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
Win 79-0 Brandon Eggum MD 16-5
Win 78-0 Rob Rohn TF 20-5
Win 77-0 Dax Pecaro TF 21-6
Win 76-0 Adam Schaaf Fall
Win 75-0 Daniel Cormier 8-4
Win 74-0 Tom Grossman MD 17-7
Win 73-0 Kyle Hansen Fall
Win 72-0 Charles McTorry TF 22-6
Win 71-0 Mike Marshall Fall
Win 70-0 John Maze TF 27-10
Win 69-0 Brandon Eggum 6-1
Win 68-0 Tom Grossman TF 19-4
Win 67-0 Daniel Cormier MD 20-9
Win 66-0 Brandon Eggum MD 8-0
Win 65-0 Tom Grossman Fall
Win 64-0 Lionel Halsey Fall
Win 63-0 Jeff Knupp TF 21-6
Win 62-0 Unknown Forfeit
Win 61-0 Dave Murray Fall
Win 60-0 Cash Edwards TF
Win 59-0 Isaac Weber MD 16-7
Win 58-0 Nate Patrick 7-2
Win 57-0 Kevin Vogel MD 17-5
Win 56-0 Lionel Halsey 5-1
Win 55-0 Sean Salmon TF 20-5
Win 54-0 Brian Falciglia Fall
Win 53-0 Joe Cotant TF 20-5
Win 52-0 Donavan True Fall
Win 51-0 Paul Jenn DQ
Win 50-0 Joel Schrimpf Fall
Win 49-0 Nathan Ackerman TF 17-2
Win 48-0 B.J. Shelley TF 22-6
Win 47-0 Chad Karnal Fall
Win 46-0 Joe Terrill TF 23-7
Win 45-0 Damion Hahn 4-3
Win 44-0 Jessman Smith TF 17-2
Win 43-0 Andorf MD 17-7
Win 42-0 Swarm TF 24-5
Win 41-0 Brandon Eggum 7-4
Win 40-0 Schmauss Fall
Win 39-0 Bouwman 20-5
Win 38-0 Ryan Rettke TF 26-11
1999 NCAA Championships 1st place, gold medalist(s) at 184 lbs
Win 37-0 Brandon Eggum 6-1 March 18–20, 1999 1999 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships
Win 36-0 Brad Vering Fall
Win 35-0 Andy Hrovat Fall
Win 34-0 Nate Patrick MD 18-6
Win 33-0 Josh Dideon Fall
Win 32-0 Brad Vering 9-5
Win 31-0 Tom Grossman MD 13-5
Win 30-0 Ken Bigley TF
Win 29-0 Casey Strand 6-2
Win 28-0 Tony Spiker Fall
Win 27-0 Jason Moore MD 19-6
Win 26-0 Matt Carpenter TF 22-7
Win 25-0 Scott Coleman MD 17-7
Win 24-0 Vertus Jones 6-5
Win 23-0 Unknown Forfeit
Win 22-0 Tom Grossman Fall
Win 21-0 Mark Munoz MD 10-2
Win 20-0 Paul Jenn TF MD 10-2
Win 19-0 Tom Grossman MD 20-8
Win 18-0 Mark Munoz 5-1
Win 17-0 Casey Strand Fall
Win 16-0 Tom Ciezki 6-3
Win 15-0 Nate Patrick 7-2
Win 14-0 Ryan Rettke Fall
Win 13-0 John Van Doren 11-4
Win 12-0 Aaron Simpson TF 9-3
Win 11-0 Greg Gingeleskie 5-0
Win 10-0 James Brimm 5-0
Win 9-0 Mike Gadsby TF 19-4
Win 8-0 Tom Ciezki TF 23-7
Win 7-0 Paul Jenn TF 19-4
Win 6-0 William Rufis Fall
Win 5-0 B.J. Shelley Fall
Win 4-0 Brant LaGrange MD 21-8
Win 3-0 Steve Burleson Fall
Win 2-0 Joe Brougard TF 20-5
Win 1-0 George Flannick TF 20-5


[23][24][25][26]

Coaching career[edit]

Iowa State[edit]

Sanderson began his coaching career with the season ending in 2004 as a special assistant for the wrestling team at ISU. After short stints in associate head coaching positions, he became the head coach for the season ending in 2007. In three seasons, Sanderson led ISU's wrestling team to NCAA Division I national placements of second, fifth, and third.[27] He also coached his wrestlers to two individual NCAA Division I national titles.

Penn State[edit]

Before the 2010 season ended, Sanderson became the head coach of Penn State's wrestling team. As of 2019, Sanderson's Penn State teams have won eight NCAA Division I team titles.[28] During that time, he also coached his wrestlers to 23 individual Division I titles.

Coaching results[edit]

Coaching Record
Season Team Finish Dual Record All Americans National Champions
Iowa State University
2007 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 13-3-0 4 1
2008 5th 16-4-0 7 0
2009 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) 15-3-0 4 1
Pennsylvania State University
2010 9th 13-6-1 3 0
2011 1st place, gold medalist(s) 17-1-1 5 1
2012 1st place, gold medalist(s) 13-1-0 6 3
2013 1st place, gold medalist(s) 13-1-0 5 2
2014 1st place, gold medalist(s) 15-1-0 7 2
2015 6th 11-4-0 5 1
2016 1st place, gold medalist(s) 16-0-0 6 2
2017 1st place, gold medalist(s) 14-0-0 6 5
2018 1st place, gold medalist(s) 14-0-0 8 4
2019 1st place, gold medalist(s) 14-0-0 7 3
2020 DNC 12-2-0 5 0
2021 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 6-0-0 6 4
Career 202-26-2 84 29

Awards and honors[edit]

2011
  • 1st place, gold medalist(s) Ion Corneanu Memorial
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999

Other honors[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson, Kelli (2002-04-01). "The Top 10: SI picks the most impressive college sports feats ever". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  2. ^ "15 years ago: Cael concludes perfect college career". InterMat. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  3. ^ a b "Cael Sanderson: College statistics, records, championships | NCAA.com". www.ncaa.com. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  4. ^ "15 years ago: Cael concludes perfect college career". InterMat. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  5. ^ "NCAA Wrestling Unbeaten Streak Leaders". mwolverine.com. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  6. ^ "NCAA weighs in: Top 5 NCAA wrestlers of all time". InterMat. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  7. ^ "Ranking top college wrestlers of all time". InterMat. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  8. ^ "Cael Sanderson (2017) - Hall of Fame". Iowa State University Athletics. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  9. ^ "Cael Sanderson (State College, PA) | Trackwrestling Profile". Trackwrestling. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  10. ^ "Cael Sanderson named U.S. Men's Freestyle World Team coach | Penn State University". news.psu.edu. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  11. ^ "BeUndefeated.com - Undefeated Sport Nutrition – Sport Cookies – Custom Sport Drink". beundefeated.com. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  12. ^ "EGGUM, PAULSON CLAIM SILVER MEDALS AT WORLD WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS". University of Minnesota Athletics. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  13. ^ "Cael Sanderson, 3-time Hodge Trophy winner". WIN Magazine. 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  14. ^ a b "Cael Sanderson". Key Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  15. ^ Grundmeier, Lucas. "Overtime loss for Sanderson in Pan American Games semifinals". Iowa State Daily. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  16. ^ "Cael Sanderson loses final at World Championships". Iowa State Daily. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  17. ^ "Match of the Day: Cael Sanderson defeats Lee Fulhart in match three to make the 2004 Olympic Team". Team USA. May 1, 2020.
  18. ^ "Perfection: Sanderson wins wrestling gold". ESPN.com. 2004-08-28. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  19. ^ News, Deseret (2011-07-28). "Cael Sanderson excited to be back on the wrestling mat". Deseret News. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  20. ^ "Cael Sanderson captures title at Ion Corneanu Memorial in Romania". Team USA. August 6, 2011.
  21. ^ "Sanderson wins spot in worlds with trials title". ESPN.com. 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  22. ^ "Sanderson Takes Fifth at World Championship and Varner Wins Bronze". Penn State University Athletics. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  23. ^ "Brackets". www.wrestlingstats.com. Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  24. ^ Yumpu.com. "1999 69th NCAA Wrestling Tournament 3/18/1999 ... - Wrestling Stats". yumpu.com. Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  25. ^ "Cael Sanderson: College statistics, records, championships | NCAA.com". wwwcache.ncaa.com. Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  26. ^ "USATODAY.com - Cael Sanderson's perfect record". usatoday30.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2021-10-23.
  27. ^ "Cael Sanderson Bio :: Penn State :: Official Athletic Site". Gopsusports.com. Archived from the original on 2016-07-08. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  28. ^ "WR: Two Lions Up for the Hodge! :: Penn State :: Official Athletic Site". Gopsusports.com. 2018-03-20. Archived from the original on 2018-05-03. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  29. ^ Abbott, Gary (2005-04-28). "Cael Sanderson named 2004 John Smith Award winner, as the Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by USA Wres | TheMat.com - USA Wrestling". Content.themat.com. Archived from the original on 2018-03-24. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  30. ^ Abbott, Gary. "Cael Sanderson named 2003 John Smith Award winner, as the Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by USA Wres | TheMat.com - USA Wrestling". Content.themat.com. Archived from the original on 2018-03-24. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  31. ^ Hamilton, Andy (21 July 2012). "Cael Sanderson elected to Des Moines Sunday Register's Iowa Sports Hall of Fame". Des Moines Register. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2012.

External links[edit]