Cael S... No, that's too obvious. C. Sanderson. Now that I've dropped one of my favorite Simpsons lines for you all. It should have been very clear that Cael Sanderson is the very best NCAA wrestler of all time. Now that we can give him a tangible number, let's go ahead and do that. Cael Sanderson's Gable Score (I just decided that's what we are calling it);
- 1999 NCAA Tournament - We need to begin by explaining that this was kind of a weird year. This was the first year of the weight classes that we know and love today. In 1998, the weights near Cael were 167, 177, 190, then up to Heavyweight. With that being said, it doesn't affect the returning NCAA Champ, Tim Hartung of Minnesota at 190 bumped up to 197 for the following season. In this year, Cael went on to beat two AA's on his way to the finals, Andy Hrovat of Michigan and Brad Vering of Nebraska before meeting Brandon Eggum, the now Head Coach at Minnesota, in the finals. As we all know, Cael dispatched of Eggum by a score of 6-1. This was also a strange year because it's the only season in which he didn't win the Hodge trophy. Final Gable Score; 12 points, remember, beating Eggum in the finals was worth 10 points, he doesn't get an additional point for Eggum being an All American. 10>1.
- 2000 NCAA Tournamant - Cael walks into the tournament as the #1 seed, as one tends to do when they are undefeated in their first two seasons and the defending champ at that weight. This road proved to be slightly more difficult. Not only did he beat Brandon Eggum again, this time in the semi's, but he also had to beat future NCAA Champ, Rob Rohn of Lehigh in the quarter finals. By the way, he heat Eggum 16-5 and tech'd the future champ. Side note, if you are unfamiliar with the Rob Rohn, youtube his match with Josh Lambrecht in the NCAA finals. Anyway, Cael tech's him in the quarter finals, then makes his way through Eggum where he beats multiple time time finalist, Vertus Jones (older brother of Greg Jones, 3x NCAA Champ for West Virginia). Cael wins the title by a score of 19-6, earning him the first of his trilogy of Hodge trophies and second NCAA title. Gable Score - 20 points, 10 for the title, 7 for the Hodge, 2AA's, and +1 for defeating a multiple time finalist.
- 2001 NCAA Tournament - Cael is good. It's clear to most at this point. He continues his streak in as dominant fashion as one can continue a streak. He won his first three matches with two tech's and a pin, including a 21-7 win in the semi finals against Victor Sveda, who happened to place third (although he didn't beat another AA except for in the finals). He ends up beating Daniel Cormier in the finals, who ended up an Olympian and UFC Champ, so more decent competition in the finals. All of this to go along with his Empire Strikes Back of Hodge Trophies. Gable Score - 18 Points, 10 for the title, 7 for the Hodge, 1 for beating Sveda, the only AA he beat on his way to the finals.
- 2002 NCAA Tournament - This is it, the final countdown on his way to NCAA History and his own Wheaties box. This year, Cael decided not to cut weight anymore, and simply beat everyone at 197. Cael sauntered his way into the finals by beating 8th place Jason Payne of Northern Iowa, and future finalist Scott Barker of Missouri. Cael met Jon Trenge, who is a multiple time finalist, although this was his first trip. Trenge, who was the 2 seed, and had pinned his way through the tournament to challenge Cael, would surely be quite a hill to climb for the 3x defending Champ. Will Cael befall the same fate that Dan Gable did in his final NCAA match? No... No he didn't. Cael majored Trenge by a score of 12-4, securing his third Hodge Trophy, and goes down as the greatest college wrestler ever. This year's Gable Score, 20 points. 10 for the title, 7 for the Hodge, beat 2 AA's, and beat a multiple time finalist +1.
Career Gable Score - 70 Points!!!
I haven't gone through everyone's scores yet, in fact far from it, but I believe it's going to be damn near impossible to beat 70. Stieber beat some stiff competition in the finals, including beating a number of multiple time finalists, and defending champs, so he'll be my next deep dive. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed, and Rock on.