The first few questions of Cael Sanderson's media gathering Tuesday afternoon revolved around 184-pound national champion Ed Ruth.
In the Southern Scuffle final (Jan. 2) the senior saw his 84-bout win streak snapped after a 7-4 loss to Cornell freshman Gabe Dean. It was Ruth's first lost since his redshirt freshman season. Sanderson said, however, "this gives (Ruth) a chance to kind of reset and start over. He has a challenge ahead of him now and he's got to get back to the top, and I think that's good for Ed."
Asked if Ruth was fully healthy for his final against Dean, Sanderson did not comment specifically but said, "he didn't took like Ed that was for darn sure. But that happens. You have to be ready every time you step out there, regardless. It was a tough opponent that he had, too, and (Dean) wrestled very smart. So it's tough when you put those things together, but you've got to be ready."
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- Ruth was not made available for comment, but he was present in the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex. In fact, he was training freestyle with members of the Canadian national team.
At least five members of the Canadian national team were working out with members of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, which includes some active members of the team who meet certain NCAA criteria, like Ruth. Said Sanderson, "There's not a better place (to train) in the world than the room right here, really."
Andrew Alton (149) and Dylan Alton (157) have returned to action, wrestling in an open tournament or two, but they have yet to return to Penn State's starting lineup. Will that change when Purdue travels to Rec Hall for Sundays' dual meet?
"We're thinking about it," Sanderson said. "There's a strong chance we'll see them this week. (pause) But there's a strong chance that we won't see them, too."
Andrew and Dylan each underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season.
NOTE: My gut says they'll wrestle, but I could also see the coaching staff holding them out another week.
Gulibon's weight management
Jimmy Gulibon had the best performance of his redshirt freshman season at the Southern Scuffle, finishing as runner-up and with a 5-1 tourney record. Sanderson said the performance served "as a confidence boost for him."
As Sanderson also revealed, Gulibon's performance demonstrated how he has begun to manage his weight more efficiently, following early-season struggles at 133.
Sanderson compared Gulibon's situation to Quentin Wright's as a sophomore. Wright had initially struggled with weight management at 184. However, once the two-time NCAA champ got his weight under control, Sanderson saw an improvement in his performance, too.
"So I think Jimmy is similar to that," Sanderson added. "He didn't necessarily do the best job with his weight, where that was affecting his performance early. Now that his weight is under control, now he can go wrestle. That's the thing about wrestling. It's not a normal athletic sporting contest. The guys have to make weight and then compete an hour later. That's a big deal."