Penn State Wrestlers and Sanderson Claim Big Ten Team and Coach of the Year Honors
June 20, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - he Penn State Nittany Lion wrestling team was honored by the Big Ten Conference as the Big Ten's 2010-11 Men's Team of the Year. Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson was also tabbed as the 2010-11 Big Ten Men's Head Coach of the Year.
The Nittany Lion wrestlers were the 2011 Big Ten Champions, claiming the school's first ever conference title, in early March in Northwestern and then winning the 2011 NCAA National Championship in Philadelphia on March 17-19 in front of a partisan Penn State crowd at the Wells Fargo Center. Penn State posted a superb 17-1-1 dual meet record which included both the Virginia Duals title and a co-championship at the Southern Scuffle. Penn State set a school record with a 6-1-1 Big Ten dual meet as well. Penn State beat out the Ohio State men's basketball team and the Wisconsin football team to claim the honor.
Sanderson's Lions rode the strong performance of eight national qualifiers including five All-Americans (all of whom finished in the top three and one of which won a national crown). Sophomore Quentin Wright (Wingate, Pa.) capped off an historic March run by winning the 184-pound crown as the No. 9 seed. Wright began March with a Big Ten title as well as Big Ten Championship Most Outstanding Wrestler honors. Junior Frank Molinaro (Barnegat, N.J.) became a three-time All-American by advancing to the finals at 149. Molinaro also won the 149-pound Big Ten title. Red-shirt freshman David Taylor (St. Paris, Ohio) capped off a stunning rookie campaign by advancing to the finals at 157 to become a freshman All-American as national runner-up. Taylor was the Big Ten Wrestler of the Year and Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Sophomore Andrew Long (Creston, Iowa) rolled to a third place finish at 133 at the NCAA Championships to become a two-time All-American. Long also won the Big Ten crown. Red-shirt freshman Ed Ruth (Harrisburg, Pa.) also rolled to a third place finish at 174 and collected the Gorriaran Award at NCAA's for most pins in the least time. Ruth was the Big Ten champion as well.
Penn State's run at NCAA's was historic for the school and east coast wrestling as well. The crown was Penn State's first since 1953; the Nittany Lions become only the sixth team in the nation to win more than one NCAA team title; the 107.5 team points is a Penn State record (and marks the first time PSU scored over 100); the Nittany Lions now have 22 individual champions (among 19 individuals), 7th all-time in the nation; Penn State had five All-Americans for the first time since 1998 (the school record is eight, set in 1987); Penn State had five wrestlers finish in the top three nationally for the first time since 1953; Penn State had three national finalists for the first time since 1999. Sanderson's overall conference Coach of the Year honor is the latest in a long line of accolades won the veteran mentor. He was named 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Coach of the Year and earned numerous national Coach of the Year awards from various national publications. Sanderson's Big Ten Wrestling Coach of the Year honor, combined with his Big 12 Coach of the Year honors won while at Iowa State, makes him the only coach in NCAA history to earn coach of the year laurels from both the Big Ten and Big 12. Sanderson now sports a 30-7-2 dual meet record at Penn State in two seasons and is 74-17-2 in five years as a head coach. The 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist has also returned to the competitive arena, winning the 2011 U.S. World Team Trials crown at 84 kg and will head to Istanbul, Turkey, this September for the 2011 World Championships. Sanderson beat out Ohio State men's basketball coach Thad Matta and Purdue men's basketball coach Matt Painter for the honor.
Penn State is already prepping for the upcoming season. The season ticket package for the 2011-12 campaign features seven home duals (the Nittany Lion Open is not part of the package and the Intrasquad is free) and costs only $42 for all seats, the same price as last year. Fans can place new orders for season tickets by calling Joel Diamond at 814-867-2557. A $5 per order handling fee will be added to new season ticket holders. Current season ticket holders from last year will receive their renewal notices later this summer and information on single dual tickets will come as the season approaches. With season ticket sales already brisk, Penn State will be capping the number of total season tickets sold (combining new applications and renewals from last year), so fans wishing to purchase new season tickets are encouraged to do so quickly.
All information for purchasing new season tickets is also available online at is www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets/m-wrestl-tickets.html . Fans are encouraged to follow Penn State wrestling via twitter at www.twitter.com/pennstatepat and on Penn State Wrestling's facebook page at www.facebook.com/pennstatewrestling. The 2010-11 Penn State Wrestling season has been presented by The Family Clothesline. The full 2011-12 Penn State Wrestling Schedule is as follows: