Cael Sanderson
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Cael Sanderson
Cael Sanderson
Weight184 lb (83 kg)
Born (1979-06-20) June 20, 1979 (age 40)
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

Cael Norman Sanderson ( KAYL; born June 20, 1979) is an American former folkstyle and freestyle wrestler, and is the current head coach of the Pennsylvania State University wrestling team. As a wrestler, he won an Olympic gold medal and four NCAA Division I individual titles. In 2002, Sports Illustrated recognized his college career as the second most impressive feat in college sports history.[1]

Early life

Sanderson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is the third of four brothers.[2]

Wrestling career


After graduating from Wasatch High in 1997, Sanderson competed at Iowa State (ISU). He redshirted the 1997-98 season. As a redshirt freshman, Sanderson won all 39 matches and the NCAA title at 184 pounds (83 kg). He became the first freshman in NCAA tournament history to be named the NCAA Wrestling Team Championship's most outstanding wrestler.

Sanderson was also undefeated in the 1999-00 season, going 40-0 and winning another NCAA title. He also won the Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation's most outstanding college wrestler. He was the first underclassman to win the Hodge Trophy. In the off season, he won the World University title in Tokyo, Japan.

As a junior, Sanderson went 40-0, raising his record to 119-0. He broke the prior record, held by Iowa State alumnus Dan Gable, of 98 consecutive wins. He was also named outstanding wrestler in the NCAA tournament and was the first two-time winner of the Dan Hodge Trophy.[3]

Sanderson's 2001-02 campaign was a coronation of sorts. He again went undefeated at 40-0. He became the second wrestler to win an NCAA Division I individual title four times, the first being Pat Smith. He also won his third Dan Hodge Trophy as outstanding wrestler.[4] Sanderson set an NCAA record with 159 straight wins. His success brought attention even from non-wrestling fans. Sanderson was the first wrestler since 1988's "Wheaties Search for Champions" winner, Sammy Chagolla, to be featured on Wheaties cereal boxes for his achievement. His final college accomplishments were a record of 159-0, 4 NCAA titles, 3 Dan Hodge Trophy awards, 4-time NCAA Outstanding Wrestler, and 4-time Big 12 Conference Champion.[1]


Sanderson won a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece[5] as well as a silver medal at the 2003 World Wrestling Championships.[6] Sanderson also would have represented the United States in world competition in 2002. However, citing security concerns, the American freestyle team chose to not compete that year.[7]

In 2011, Sanderson came out of retirement and placed fifth in the world.[8] By 2011, however, he was the head coach of the wrestling team at Pennsylvania State University, and could only train when his coaching responsibilities were taken care of.[9]

Match results

World Championships & Olympics
Res. Record Opponent Score Date Event Location
2011 UWW world 5th at 84kg
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 8-2
Win 10-1 Mexico Alejandro Gallardo 6-0, 7-0
2004 Olympic 1st, 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 UWW world 2nd, silver medalist(s) at 84kg
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

Coaching career

Iowa State

Sanderson began his coaching career with the season ending in 2004 as a special assistant for the wrestling team at Iowa State University. After short stints in associate head coaching positions, he became the head coach for the season ending in 2007. In three seasons, Sanderson led the Iowa State University wrestling team to NCAA Division I national placements of second, fifth, and third.[10] He also coached his wrestlers to two individual NCAA Division I national titles.

Penn State

Before the season ending in 2010, Sanderson became the head coach of the wrestling team at Pennsylvania State University. As of 2019, Sanderson has won eight NCAA Division I team titles.[11] During that time, he also coached his wrestlers to 23 individual NCAA Division I national titles.

Coaching results

Coaching Record
Season Team Finish Dual Record All Americans National Champions
Iowa State University
2007 2nd, silver medalist(s) 13-3-0 4 1
2008 5th 16-4-0 7 0
2009 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 15-3-0 4 1
Pennsylvania State University
2010 9th 13-6-1 3 0
2011 1st, gold medalist(s) 17-1-1 5 1
2012 1st, gold medalist(s) 13-1-0 6 3
2013 1st, gold medalist(s) 13-1-0 5 2
2014 1st, gold medalist(s) 15-1-0 7 2
2015 6th 11-4-0 5 1
2016 1st, gold medalist(s) 16-0-0 6 2
2017 1st, gold medalist(s) 14-0-0 6 5
2018 1st, gold medalist(s) 14-0-0 8 4
2019 1st, gold medalist(s) 14-0-0 7 3
Career 184-24-2 73 25

Awards and honors

  • 1st, gold medalist(s) Ion Corneanu Memorial

Other honors

See also


  1. ^ a b Anderson, Kelli (2002-04-01). "The Top 10: SI picks the most impressive college sports feats ever". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved .
  2. ^ "About Cael Sanderson". Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ Bamberger, Michael (February 5, 2001). "107-23 And Counting". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved .
  4. ^ Bechtel, Mark (April 1, 2002). "Perfect!". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Phenom Sanderson captures wrestling gold". Associated Press. August 30, 2004. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b Abbott, Gary. "Cael Sanderson named 2003 John Smith Award winner, as the Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by USA Wres | - USA Wrestling". Retrieved .
  7. ^ "USA Wrestling decides not to attend World Freestyle Championships". Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Sanderson Takes Fifth at World Championship and Varner Wins Bronze :: Penn State :: Official Athletic Site". 2011-09-17. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "Unretired Cael Sanderson wins freestyle title at trials". Deseret News. 2011-06-11. Retrieved .
  10. ^ 1 second ago. "Cael Sanderson Bio :: Penn State :: Official Athletic Site". Retrieved .
  11. ^ 1 second ago (2018-03-20). "WR: Two Lions Up for the Hodge! :: Penn State :: Official Athletic Site". Retrieved .
  12. ^ Abbott, Gary (2005-04-28). "Cael Sanderson named 2004 John Smith Award winner, as the Freestyle Wrestler of the Year by USA Wres | - USA Wrestling". Retrieved .
  13. ^ 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 2012.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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