Disorder in Cael’s House
Coming off a dominant National Championship-winning season, the Nittany Lion wrestlers, under the leadership of Coach Cael Sanderson, had everything going for them coming into this summer. Losing one of their All-Americans for the year and maybe two, however, was not on their agenda.
In the past six months, three wrestlers have had off-the-mat incidents, two of which took place in August.
On August 12, Andrew Long, a two-time All-American, was charged with sexual assault after allegedly trying to rape an unconscious victim. The victim was a 55-year-old mother of a Penn State student. She was staying the night at he her son’s house, helping him move in.
Long removed himself from the wrestling program and did not register for classes. He also waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
Six days prior, Ed Ruth, freshman All-American last season, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of assaulting a police officer and one misdemeanor count of simple assault after an incident that took place outside of a bar in Washington D.C. Ruth plead not guilty and is scheduled for an initial status hearing today. And just how, exactly, does a 20-year-old not get an underage at a bar fight?
Also, freshman Thomas Gorman was arraigned on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment back in March.
These events are uncharacteristic of a Penn State athletic team and especially of a team run by arguably the most renowned wrestler in the world in Cael Sanderson. Amidst the trouble circulating the program, Sanderson won an international freestyle title in early August, claiming the Corneanu Memorial Crown in Romania. He was competing internationally for the first time since 2004 when he won the Olympics in Athens, Greece. One can only wonder whether his attention is in the right place.
Sanderson can’t be pleased with the events that transpired, but even with Ruth’s fate uncertain, the team will still succeed. Along with all the returning talent, the program welcomes eight new recruits, including the top- and fifth-ranked recruits in the country.
Practice begins on September 15 for the grapplers with several questions to be answered. The offseason events definitely add a few more storylines for wrestle-offs in November. But as long as Cael Sanderson is running the show this team is going to win a lot of matches and contend to repeat as National Champions.