Carson’s Corner: The Penn State Wrestling Dynasty is Alive and Well

| May 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

In the world of physics, there is the Doppler Effect; in economics, we have the Accelerator effect, and the Zeigarnik effect is a staple of cognitive psychology.

Add to the list the phenomena sweeping college wrestling I like to call the Sanderson Effect. The Sanderson Effect gets its name from Cael Sanderson, head wrestling coach at Penn State.

The Nittany Lions own six of the last seven NCAA wrestling championships and shows no signs of slowing down soon.

In a dynasty eerie similar to Dan Gable’s Iowa squads of the seventies and eighties, Penn State is a machine mowing down everyone and everything in their path.

The key to their success?

Coaching of course, but the other huge piece of the puzzle is recruiting. Sanderson and his staff are on par with Nick Saban at Alabama, albeit in a different sport.

Case in point – the 2016 class brought them NCAA champ Mark Hall, future NCAA champion Nick Suriano and this coming season – Mason Manville. The class of 2017 has Nick Lee, Brady Berge, and Jarod Verkleeren joining the fray.

Go back into the recent past and two guys you may have heard of – David Taylor and Ed Ruth came to Happy Valley, kick-starting the Nittany Lion dominance.

And if that isn’t enough, the 2018 class may be the best Sanderson and company has ever recruited and could go down as one of the greatest in the history of the sport. Only time will tell.

Malvern Prep stud Michael Beard, who de-committed from Northwestern earlier in the year, picked Penn State as his choice on Wednesday. Beard, ranked the No. 5 recruit in the nation, joins a class that already features No. 2 Gavin Teasdale, No. 3 Roman Bravo-Young, No. 4 Travis Wittlake, No. 10 Seth Nevills and No. 37 Joe Lee.

The Nittany Lions have six of the top 40 recruits in the nation, four of the top five and five of the top 10. How sick is that?

Penn State recently won the 2017 NCAA Championship in St. Louis in March, crowning five consecutive underclassmen champions, and scoring a school-record 146.5 team points.

With a healthy Suriano and Jared Cortez, the Nittany Lions have a chance to field the greatest collegiate wrestling team ever assembled. (The best was the 1986 Iowa squad which featured five national champions and nine All-Americans in its lineup).

Think about the likely starting lineup in 2017-18: Suriano at 125, Cortez at 133, Lee at 141, 2x NCAA champ Zain Retherford at 149, NCAA champ Jason Nolf at 157, NCAA champ Vincenzo Joseph at 165, NCAA champ Mark Hall at 174, NCAA champ Bo Nickal at 184, NCAA qualifier Matt McCutcheon or Anthony Cassar at 197, and NCAA All-American Nick Nevills at heavyweight. Wow!

Want scarier? Only Retherford and McCutcheon are seniors. Mix in the 2017 and 2018 classes, and you have a recipe that makes other programs shake in their singlets.

Iowa, Oklahoma State, Ohio State and Arizona State are solid teams, and in a different time or era, each would walk away with multiple team titles. But this is Penn State’s time. It’s their moment to bask in the spotlight.

To all the Division I college wrestling teams out and about this great country, I have sobering news for you:

The Penn State/Cael Sanderson dynasty isn’t slowing down. It’s just getting started.



Category: Carson's Corner, College Wrestling

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