Cael Sanderson with brother Cody Sanderson at the NCAAs (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)Born in Provo on June 20, 1979, Cael Norman Sanderson was a four-time Utah state champ at Wasatch High School. He then headed to Iowa State, where he became only the second four-time NCAA Division I wrestling champ (1999-2002). As a Cyclone, Sanderson compiled a perfect 159-0 record over four years, a feat considered one of the greatest achievements in college sports history. He won a gold medal in men's freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Sanderson launched his coaching career at Iowa State, then became head wrestling coach at Penn State in 2009, leading the Nittany Lions to four consecutive NCAA wrestling titles from 2011-14.
Sanderson joins fellow Class of 2015 honorees Kelly Downs, Ed Eyestone, Scott Mitchell, and the late Wayne Estes for induction in the Utah Sports Hall of Fame. The annual dinner and ceremony will be held Thursday, Sept. 17 at the Little America Hotel in Provo.
Founded in 1970, the Utah Sports Hall of Fame recognizes and honors athletes, coaches, administrators and others who have had a great influence, who have merited recognition and distinction and who, by their exploits, accomplishments and activities in regard to sports events, have brought fame and honor to the state of Utah, according to the Hall's website. Honorees must be a Utah native or resident of the state for at least ten years (with some exceptions granted).
Sanderson is only the second wrestler to be inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in the facility's 45-year history, joining Karl Schleckman, a heavyweight wrestler for the now-defunct mat program at University of Utah in the 1930s, who was welcomed into the Hall in 1997.