PHILADELPHIA — Penn State won the 2011 NCAA championship in the City of Brotherly Love.
And speaking of brotherly love, leading the Nittany Lions into battle are head coach Cael Sanderson and his brother Cody, who serves as his associate head coach.
Both Sanderson brothers won four state titles for Wasatch HS. Cael went on to win four NCAA titles at Iowa State and an Olympic gold medal. Cody was a two-time All-American at Iowa State and actually was UVU’s first ever head wrestling coach before leaving the Wolverine program in 2006 to assist his brother at Iowa State.
Penn State bested Cornell and defending national champions Iowa by 14 and 21 points respectively to bring Pennsylvania’s Happy Valley their first team title since 1953.
The Beehive State had a significant showing at this year’s NCAA meet as Boise State’s Andrew Hochstrasser placed second in the 133-pound division. Hochstrasser, who won four state titles at Tooele High School, was defeated by his nemesis, Jordan Oliver of Oklahoma State 8-4. Hochstrasser dropped just three matches all year long, and all were to the Cowboy grappler.
Hochstrasser’s teammate Jason Chamberlain, who prepped at Springville High School winning four state titles, placed third in the 149-pound division. Chamberlain was defeated by Penn State’s Frank Molinaro in the semi-finals Friday night before defeating Oklahoma State’s Jamal Parks and American’s Ganbayar Sanjaa on Saturday.
UVU’s Ben Kjar finished fourth in the 125-pound division at the NCAA wrestling tournament winning one of two matches in the medal rounds Saturday.
Kjar defeated Stanford’s Ryan Mango 3-1 but then fell to Northwestern’s Brandon Precin 5-0 in the consolation championship. Kjar combined with teammate Flint Ray (133 pounds), who went 3-2 before being knocked out of the tournament yesterday in the All-American round, to lead the Wolverines to a 30th place finish.
Another native Utahn that fared well at this year’s championships was Luke Lofthouse. The Hawkeye, who won three state titles for Mountain Crest, placed fifth at 197 pounds.
Preece was the former head wrestling coach at Provo HS and is a freelance writer.