Wrestling Kicks Off Tonight
Entering his second season as Penn State’s head coach, Cael Sanderson expects nothing less than a national title from his wrestlers.
“As a team we are thinking national championship,” said Sanderson, whose team is ranked sixth in the country by USA Today and seventh by InterMat.
The road to that championship begins Friday night when the Nittany Lions travel east to square off against the Bloomsburg Huskies. They will battle No. 15 Lehigh on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Rec Hall– a match EVERYONE should attend (It’s free!).
After bringing in two of the top recruiting classes in his first two seasons, Sanderson has a serious chance of winning the NCAA team championship this March, and his forward thinking resonates with the rest of his wrestlers.
“I want to be a national champ,” said David Taylor, redshirt freshman No. 6 and the best high school wrestler for the class of 2009, who will start at 157 pounds this weekend. “That has been my goal for a long time now. It has been on my mind all year, and now the closer we get, the more it is becoming realistic.”
Returning All-Americans Frank Molinaro and Quinton Wright, who are both ranked No. 3 in the country, have one goal in mind– winning their first national title at 149 and 184 pounds.
Following the upperclassmen’s role, redshirt freshman No. 13 Ed Ruth, a Harrisburg native, is also expected to make a serious run at the 174-pound national championship. After posting a 14-3 record as an unattached wrestler as a true freshman, Ruth has a bright future ahead of him in a blue and white singlet.
“Ruth is going to be a lot of fun to watch,” said Sanderson. “He will be a fan favorite.”
True freshman Andrew Alton is one of the highly sought after Alton twins from nearby Central Mountain High School (The other twin, Dylan, will redshirt this season). Andrew carries a No. 14 ranking. He also carries serious All-American expectations after pinning redshirt senior Adam Lynch with an 11-2 lead during their wrestle-off for the 141-pound starting role.
Penn State’s final ranked wrestler is big ol’ Cameron Wade at heavyweight. After an impressive sophomore season, Wade enters his redshirt junior year as the No. 9 ranked 285-pounder in the country.
He will face Lehigh’s Zack Rey, the top-ranked 285-pounder in the country.