Sanderson effect in full force at PSU

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 that list the phenomena sweeping college wrestling I like to call the Sanderson effect. The Sanderson effect gets its name from Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson.

The Nittany Lions own six of the last seven NCAA wrestling championships and show 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 its 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 classbrought 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 – all top ranked in high school in their respective weight classes.

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

Malvern Prep stud Michael Beard, who decommitted from Northwestern earlier in the year, picked Penn State as his choice a few weeks ago. 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 topfive 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-record146.5 team points.

With a healthy Suriano and Jared Cortez, the Nittany Lions could 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, two-time 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 to 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 probably walk away with multiple team titles. But this is Penn State’s time. It’s the Lions’ 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.


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