By Jim Carlson | Special to PennLive
on January 14, 2015 at 8:32 AM, updated January 14, 2015 at 8:35 AM
Cael Sanderson wants the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club to do for his Penn State wrestlers what the Cyclone Wrestling Club did for him at Iowa State.
That’s why the likes of Olympic champion Jake Varner, Les Sigman and Franklin Gomez have been members of the NLWC, a regional Olympic training center.
That’s why younger guys with gaudy credentials such as David Taylor, Ed Ruth and Frank Molinaro were invited to join.
And that’s why the allure of working out with proven stars of the sport is attractive to the program’s recruits.
“It’s a real big deal and it’s something I had when I was a freshman at Iowa State,” said Sanderson, who won NCAA titles from 1999-2002 and an Olympic crown in 2004.
“When I was a redshirt there I had a guy who won the nationals there the year before — his name was Barry Weldon — and I had Derek Mountsier and a fifth-year senior who stuck around.
“Maybe he wasn’t a national champion and maybe he didn’t compete quite as well, he was more focused on helping me as an athlete and helping me reach my goals first as opposed to the guy training. There’s value in the Davids and Franks and there’s value in the guy who’s maybe not quite at that level but they’re still training.”
Sanderson’s list of helpful competitors went on.
“I had Charles Burton — he ended up being an Olympian at my weight in 2000 — training with me. Chris Bono was a little lighter than me but he was a national champion. And a kid named Bart Horton who was fifth.”
Sanderson didn’t forget all of the help that came his way.