3/30/2011

Winning; (or as we call him) Cael Sanderson dominates another wrestling competition.

Cael Sanderson is a Champion and it's probably the best hire Penn State has made in 45, maybe 32, maybe 28 years.

Coach Paterno took over the head football coach job in 1966. By 1968 he was coaching an undefeated team. No National Championship until 1982, but he did follow up the '68 season with undefeated seasons in 1969 and 1973. Which is pretty remarkable.

Coach Russ Rose has been a stalwart asset to Penn State athletics. His contribution to women's volleyball, as a Penn State and national collegiate sport is unprecedented and unchallenged.  But Coach Rose had to wait 20 long years before he coached an NCAA championship team - the years since then have been good, of course.

And Penn State has (has had) other powerhouse programs, such as fencing (Emmanuil G. Kaidanov has coached the fencing team since 1983), men's gymnastics, women's lacrosse and men's volleyball. These teams too have racked up championship titles over the years.

But Sanderson's command on the sport of wrestling is difficult to compare. At age 30 he took on the job of head coach at Penn State. And in his 2nd season his team won both the Big Ten and NCAA titles, and he did it with a team loaded with underclassmen.  The Penn State wrestling program has battled and struggled over the years to compete in the Big Ten and on the National stage - the hiring of Sanderson, and his team's outstanding tournament results have propelled Penn State into the upper strata of wrestling.  Everyone is going to want to wrestle at Penn State.

Interestingly, the B1G title was more hotly contested than the national title.  Coach Sanderson, as part of a deal he made with his team (a la "The Rookie" - if they won the conference championship, he'd compete), participated in a "senior" regional freestyle event last weekend. True to his modus operandi, he won all three bouts by technical fall without surrendering one point in the process (?!?!?).

It's old news, but worth repeating: Sanderson was undefeated in collegiate wrestling, winning 4 NCAA titles; a feat that Sports Illustrated lists as the 2nd greatest (behind only Jesse Owens) accomplishment in college sports, ever. He also owns an Olympic gold medal. He's the best and now he's a Penn Stater and that's a great thing.

Suffice to say, when Charlie Sheen looks up "winning" in the dictionary, he sees a picture of Cael Sanderson.

Penn State has some of the best coaches in college sports - past, present and (hopefully) future.  They've invested a lot of time and faith in their most decorated coaches - and now they've invested some money in the wrestling program, with an amazing return.

Cael Sanderson is the best.  Russ Rose is the best.  Joe Paterno is the best (or, at least the winningest).  Penn State Athletics needs to show the same commitment to excellence when filling all of their coaching positions.

3/26/2011

Penn State to build additional rec fields; Brown preferred parking to finally get lights.

I try to not be cynical, but I am.

This week PSU announced that they will be converting current animal pastures into recreation fields. Incurring an expense of some $2.97M (during a budget crisis).

So one has to think, will students be excited to trek out to the fields after dropping off their (possibly) 30% higher tuition check at Shields Building?

The fields that they will be converting include the lots where Brown preferred and the new(ish) Reserved Pink (overflow) parking are located.

The improvements include grading, irrigation and, so the kids can play ultimate frisbee after dark, lighting.

How convenient.

3/21/2011

Al Davis said it best, "Just Win"; Penn State Athletics Lead Conference in NCAA Championships.

I'm still thrilled with the Nittany Lions' big Wrestling win, coup really, this past weekend.

Iowa had a 3 year vice grip on the title and PSU really stormed through the competition this year.

The title is Penn State's 21st NCAA Championship since joining the Big Ten (full season 1993 - 94), which puts them way out in front of the other Big Ten Schools.  Iowa and Minnesota are tied at 2nd with 9 each.

Penn State's 21 titles include 10 Fencing and 5 Women's Volleyball titles - but a championship is a championship.

HT:  Twitter: GoPSUJeff

3/19/2011

Penn State Has Won The National Championship; PSU wins 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships.

The Penn State Wrestlers clinched the National Championship team title following the (consolation) 3rd Place matches.  Yes, before the championship round mat was unfurled, Penn State was in front and could not be caught.

Cornell made it close; leading after the Quarterfinal round, Big Red actually had a "possible points" advantage over Penn State going into the Semis.  But the Lions roared through the Semi-finals, sending 3 wrestlers into the finals.

The Penn State wrestlers also did well in the "wrestle backs" scoring two 3rd place finishes.

In the Championship Round 145 pounder, Frank Molinaro met an uber aggressive Kyle Drake (Cornell) and took second.  David Taylor (157 pounds) didn't fare any better against Bubba Jenkins (ASU), as Jenkins completed the saga of his college career with a pin, and the national championship.

It was beginning to look like Penn State would win the team title without taking an individual title.  Their remaining finalist was 9 seed, Quentin Wright (184 pounds) who would be facing Robert Hamlin (#2 seed, Lehigh).  The two had met in November, with Hamlin defeating Wright.

But nothing has been predictable about Wright's run to the finals - he had already defeated the #1 seed and scored a fall in the semifinals. Wright pulled off the upset with a 5-2 decision, becoming Penn State's lone individual National Champion.

So I have to say that Coach Sandersen is a marvel.  He's brought home an NCAA title in just his 2nd year as Penn State head coach.  It's PSU's (and the east coast's) first national championship since 1953.   Based on the youth of this team, here's hoping that they make a habit of it!

Penn State Wrestlers - 2011 NCAA National Champions!!!!!!

3/18/2011

We're #1; PSU leads Day One of NCAA Wrestling Championships

The Lions were leading at the end of Round One of the Tournament and they continued to lead after Round Two. All 7 wrestlers remaining won their individual bouts.

The Championships continue today. Two Lions will face #1 seeds, so good luck to them and all of the team!


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3/17/2011

Oh well, that was fun.

So Penn State lost to Temple by one bucket.

Oh well it was a fun time and a close game.

The PSU wrestlers, on the other hand, had a good morning, winning 7 out of 8 bouts.

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3/16/2011

Luck of the Lions; NCAA Championships

As you've probably already figured out, Penn State faces the owls of temple in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament on St Patrick's Day.

Thursday also marks the opening sessions of the 2011 NCAA Wrestling championships. The Lions are sending 8 wrestlers to the tournament, giving Penn State a legitimate shot at the national title. The first and second rounds take place on Thursday with action starting at 11am. Rounds 1 and 2 will be shown on ESPN 3 (ESPN's online channel).

We'll be watching and wishing all of the Penn State athletes great and good luck!

I am Pro Lion; Penn State Pro Day

Today is Penn State's official Pro Day. That mean scouts from all over the NFL will be in Happy Valley to watch our senior Lions work out.

In one of the strangest draft seasons ever, we wish all of the participants the best of luck.

Lift, Run, Jump!


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3/15/2011

All those years ago; Penn State in the NCAAs

This week Penn State will be somewhere they have not been in 10 years - the MBB NCAA Tournament.

Word from the (okay, one) Temple undergrad populace is that the Temple Ts are pretty excited about the possibility of beating Penn State, at something.

Ah youth. Those of us old enough to remember the old A10 will remember many Temple basketball victories - and those not as old will also remember that it was Temple, all those ten years ago, who tripped up PSU during their improbable NCAA run.

So really, it's Penn State that has the grudge to settle.




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3/13/2011

I feel like dancing; Penn State Men's Basketball Makes the NCAA.

After reaching the final of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time ever, the Penn State Nittany Lions are going back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years.

Penn State scored a 10 seed - they will meet Temple (yes, Temple) in Tucson (yes, Tucson) on Thursday (yes...).

Luck o' the Lions people - Luck o' the Lions.