10 Questions for U S Nationals champion Cael Sanderson

By John Fuller | June 09, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
CAEL SANDERSON 2002-03 Team USA Ranking: No. 1 at 84 kg/185 lbs. Years on Team USA: 3 (2001-04) Residence: Ames, Iowa Club: Sunkist Kids College: Iowa State Univ. High School: Heber City, Utah (Wasatch) Born: June 20, 1979 in Salt Lake City, Utah Height: 6-0 1. You have won a national title three years in-a-row now. Are you getting used to U.S. competition? Sanderson: You can never get used to certain competition. The top wrestlers are always looking for ways to improve. I need to always stay on my toes and expect the unexpected. 2. Against Lee Fullhart in the finals, and also against your other opponents in the tournament, you were able to score from par terre. Do you feel you have made improvements in that area? Sanderson: I have gotten better in par terre, but I also have a long ways to go to be where I need to be to become a World Champion. Lee has great par terre defense as it is, so to be able to score points on him that way shows me that I am getting better in that area. 3. There was talk before the nationals that you were thinking of taking time off. Was that true and if so, why? Sanderson: It had crossed my mind, but I know that to get better, I need to get competitive matches in. I have never wrestled this many international matches in a year. Plus, with all the clinics and camps, it takes a toll on you. I just needed to refocus and get ready for a run at making the World Team. 4. After such a historic college career, you have had a few losses in just the past few months. Have those been hard for you to swallow? Sanderson: All losses are hard to swallow. I don't like to lose, but at the same time, I have learned something in each of those matches. I am finding things I can bring back with me from those losses. 5. You suffered a controversial loss at the World Cup. What were your thoughts on that match? Do you feel like some bad calls kept you from a win? Sanderson: I don't get too much into the officiating of a match. If I wrestle the way I am capable of wrestling, then I don't think officiating should be a factor. I was in the position I was at the end of that match because of some of my mistakes. 6. Did you ever consider taking this year off? Sanderson: I did, but with the World Championships in New York, it was hard to think about it. I want to wrestle in front of my home country. But first I have to win the Trials. I feel completely refocused right now and ready to compete. 7. Last year, you were working out with a lot of guys that were a weight class under you like Joe Williams. Have you continued that trend this year? Sanderson: Last week, Tim Hartung came down and trained with me. I have been working out with bigger guys lately. When I was in Colorado Springs last, I worked out with Ryan Tobin. It makes me feel a little fresher when I step on the mat against guys in my weight class. 8. Have you traveled anywhere to train lately or just stayed strictly in Ames? Sanderson: I have just been training here in Ames. I am comfortable with the surroundings and it is where my wife is. 9. Is art still an important piece of your life? Sanderson: Yes. It is a great stress reliever. 10. Your brother Cody accepted the position as the first head coach at Utah Valley State College. Any chance you will be joining him there? Sanderson: I haven't really thought about it. I just want to focus on training for the 2004 Olympics. After that, I will begin to look at where I am and what I want to do.