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Cael Sanderson breaks down how Penn State is preparing for another national title run

The Nittany Lions’ head coach is gearing up for a 10th national title run since 2011.



Cael Sanderson

STATE COLLEGE, PA — This week, the Penn State wrestling Nittany Lions will begin the NCAA tournament. For Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson, this year could mark his 10th national title in 12 seasons as Penn State’s coach — an impressive feat to say the least. After winning the program’s 7th-ever Big Ten title a week ago, Sanderson and his Nittany Lions are staying focused and gearing up for bigger and better on a much larger, more important stage.

Cael Sanderson talks Penn State’s tournament preparation

Ahead of the NCAA tournament this week, head coach Cael Sanderson and some of his team were available to the media. Here is what Penn State’s legendary head coach had to say about the Lions’ preparation for another run at the national championship.

“The NCAA Tournament, it’s a fun tournament,” Sanderson said earlier this week. “I mean, it’s doesn’t get any better than that. I mean, the competition level, the team race; it’s good stuff.

“We just tune them up a little bit the week before, finish off and top off their conditioning,” Sanderson said. “But for the most part, they’re ready to roll, right. It’s consistency, and just being the same person all the time. We’re going to be back in here [next] Monday, as coaches, you know, some of these guys will be in here too. You just don’t get too high or low and just give your best effort every day. That’s what we do as a program.”

What about Penn State’s rising stars (with less experience)?

It is no secret that Penn State wrestling has some younger rising stars this year. Will they be ready to go come tournament time?

“They’re both very experienced wrestlers,” Sanderson said of Shayne Van Ness and Alex Facundo. “I mean, they’ve wrestled on a national stage many times. Wrestling in some of the dual meets that they wrestled in earlier this year is great preparation. The conference meet is great preparation.

“If there’s some adjustments they need to make, mentally or more technically, we’ve had some time to kind of work on that,” Cael Sanderson said. “But yeah, they’re both ready to go. I mean, they’re trying to get better every day. That’s just what they do.”

Penn State wrestling has a shot at program history

Before hiring Cael Sanderson as head coach in 2011, Penn State wrestling had claimed one national title in its history. Now, 12 years after the fact, Sanderson is pursing his 10th championship in 12 years — what he has done with the Nittany Lions’ program is incredible, and could continue to get better as the years go on. For now, Sanderson and his team are locked in on one thing, and one thing only: winning the 2023 national championship.

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