After Penn State’s third consecutive national title, head coach Cael Sanderson was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.
Sanderson led the Nittany Lions to a 13-1 overall record, with their only blemish being a 22-16 loss to Iowa. Penn State had five shutouts, including a 52-0 dominating victory over Indiana. The Nittany Lions also came in first place at the the Southern Scuffle, despite missing Andrew and Dylan Alton for the tournament and for dual meets throughout the month of January.
Penn State won by 12 points over Minnesota to win its third consecutive conference championship, which resulted in Cael Sanderson being named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the third year in the row as well.
Sanderson had all 10 Nittany Lions head to the NCAA Championships, with nine wrestlers advancing into the third session, seven wrestlers into the fourth session, and five wrestlers into the finals. Ed Ruth and Quentin Wright won their weight classes while Matt Brown, Nico Megaludis, and David Taylor were all runners-up.
“We’re super happy. Our guys did a great job. Back and forth, our guys came through. I think every year is a little — you have different challenges. It certainly doesn’t get any easier,” Sanderson said.
Sanderson also won the award after his first season as a coach with Iowa State in 2007. He is one of three wrestlers to have ever won an NCAA title for four consecutive years and is the only wrestler to have an undefeated collegiate career with a perfect 159-0 record. Sanderson is a three time Hodge Trophy award winner, given to the most outstanding college wrestler of the year.