Sunday, February 21, 2010

Top 10 Moments in Amateur Wrestling from 2000-2009

By Jacob Schlottke , Contributor

10. (2009) Cael Sanderson Leaves ISU for Penn State

When Cael Sanderson left Iowa State and headed to State College, Pennsylvania he left the college wrestling world stunned. While many reasons were tossed around for his decision to make the move only one thing is certain: Sanderson thought he could accomplish more at PSU and until he proves me wrong, this is a major moment in collegiate wrestling.

9. (2009) Darrion Caldwell upsets Brent Metcalf

Entering the match, Brent Metcalf had never lost a match during his illustrious high school wrestling career (228-0) and during the first three years of his collegiate experience he had just one defeat (87-1) which was at the hands of Caldwell during their 2008 campaign. What happened next shocked everyone except perhaps Caldwell. The NC State giant killer hit a low single just five seconds into the match to score his first takedown and never trailed en route to a dominant 11-6 victory over what will become one of the greatest college wrestlers of all time.

8. (2001) The Emergenceof  Minnesota Golden Gopher Wrestling

Heading into 1999, the Golden Gophers had not won a Big Ten title in 40 years. After jumping that hurdle just before the 2000's with a win at the 1999 tournament, they took just two more seasons to capture the team's first ever National title in 2001 and tacked on another title the following season. The Gophers won half of the Big Ten titles in the decade and added a third National title in 2007.

7. (2002) The Rise and Fall of Real Pro Wrestling

After a moderately successful first season, RPW was slated to begin a second season, sponsorships began falling into place and they began qualifiers for season two's main event. This is when it all seemed to fall apart. According to co-founders Matt Case and Toby Willis, the business partners they had hired to help manage the day to day operations of RPW attempted to gain control of the company by going behind their back and make major changes to the events that Case and Willis did not agree with. Rather than going against their beliefs and 'selling out' they decided to put the show on hold indefinitely.

6. (2007) The Creation of &

As the cost to put video online began to shrink, high speed Internet access became common place throughout most of America, and development costs for robust web applications became pocket change, the wrestling community was treated with two progressive websites that pushed wrestling to another level.

FloWrestling was founded by brothers Martin and Mark Floreani as part of FloCasts, a social media website with a focus on video coverage. Over the course of the past three years, FloWrestling has continued to carve a niche into the wrestling video market with excellent coverage of some of the sports most intimate moments. With camera in hand, the much beloved "JoeFlo" (We're not sure if he was adopted.. Wink ), travels the globe seeking out the best stories for the best sport in the world. A couple of their most notable captures have been the 2007 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

TheWrestlingTalk has grown to the most heavily trafficked wrestling website in the world on the shoulders of the community that helped start it. With a dedication to friendly discussion, TWT has seen substantial growth year over year. Founder Shane Jensen and lead moderator Chad Wiltsey have perfected the art of providing the wrestling community with all of the information they need all in one place.

Since starting as a forum, TheWrestlingTalk has morphed into a full fledged wrestling outlet providing wrestling technique, weight training & dieting logs, wrestling gear , event videos, a wrestling clubs review system, and a dedicated "Questions & Answers" Forum for coaches and wrestlers alike.

5. (2008) The New Iowa Era under Tom Brands

Brands' departure from Virginia Tech was marred with controversy, but his results since moving back to his home have been nothing but exceptional. In just a few short years, Coach Brands has created a dynasty that is likely to be only over shadowed by his predecessor, Dan Gable. After an eighth place finish at the NCAA Tournament in his first year as head coach at Iowa, he has gone on to win two NCAA titles and is yet to lose another Big Ten dual. As a team, Brands has created a titan that is feared in just about every gym they enter and are expected to repeat once again as National Champions.

4. (2001) Nick Ackerman wins Hodge Trophy

Seldom is there a more heroic story than that of 2001 Dan Hodge trophy winner Nick Ackerman. Ackerman won the 2001 NCAA D3 title by defeating Nick Slack 13-11 in the finals, but that wasn't the most impressive part. Nor was it the fact that Slack entered the match on a 60 match win streak dating back to mid-season the previous year when he went on to win the National title.

The most impressive part of his title was that Ackerman won it without his legs. As a young boy (1 1/2 years old) his legs were amputated to prevent a disease that threatened to kill him. "Don't call me disabled, call me a National Champion." - Nick Ackerman

3. (2008) Henry Cejudo becomes youngest Olympic Champion in US History

Foregoing a college wrestling career to focus on freestyle, the young Cejudo entered the Olympics as an extreme underdog with a bright future — his time to shine was not supposed to be 2008. That didn't stop the son of undocumented Mexican immigrants who had been trained to fight against the odds his entire life. Cejudo's parents risked their lives to find their way to a better way of life for their children and Henry, at the young age of 21, has already proven the risk to be worth it. After winning the gold in Beijing, Cejudo has traveled the country telling his story and recently released a book detailing his life titled "American Victory ".

2. (2000) Rulon Gardner defeats Alexander Karelin for Olympic Gold

In what was arguably the most amazing upset in all of sports, the unheralded American heavyweight from Afton, Wyoming upended the most dominant and feared heavyweight wrestler in the history of the sport. In a truly "David vs. Goliath" moment, Karelin surrendered the first point he had allowed in the past six years to Gardner, who ended up handing Karelin his first loss in over 13 years of International competition.

1. (2002) Cael Sanderson's Completes Undefeated Career

With mounting pressure and Dan Gable's final match undoubtedly in the back of his mind, Cael Sanderson completed one of the most remarkable feats in sport. Remaining perfect for just one season in NCAA wrestling is rare. But preventing injuries, avoiding illness, improving constantly, and remaining flawless for four straight years at the Division 1 college level seems almost impossible. Cael had his share of close matches, including a 4-3 decision over Minnesota freshman Damian Hahn. However, Sanderson always found a way to win and for that, his undefeated career is my top pick for "Top 10 Wrestling Moments of the Decade" .