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Was Cael Cael after his undefeated RS frosh year? Is iMart in the same league?

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It's summer, I'm bored, let's have some discussion.

 

The title says it all.

 

I wasn't following wrestling as closely back then, but was Cael obviously going to crush it after his undefeated freshman season? What was the conversation like? Were people talking undefeated 4x'er? Was there talk that he had an easy weight and all that jazz? Was there talk about who would take him out?

 

And what about iMart (aka Imar, aka Imart)? How does the current book on him compare to Cael at this point?

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Cael was Cael by midway through his RS freshman year.  Obviously undefeated going into NCAA's you knew he was going to be great but 3 falls in NCAA's that year gave you the feeling he could be something special.  Nobody gave him a serious match that year.  Really the only guy that even seemed worthy of sharing a mat with him out of all four of his ncaa tournaments was Cormier his jr year, which Cael won by 4 I think.

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Non-bonus wins as a freshman/sophomore:

 

Freshman (1998-99)

5-0 - James Brimm, Michigan State (Midlands)

5-0 - Greg Gingeleskie, Navy (Midlands)

11-4 - John Van Doren, Lehigh (Midlands)

6-3 - Tom Ciezki, Northwestern (National Duals)

5-1 - Mark Munoz, Oklahoma State (National Duals)

*6-5 - Vertus Jones, West Virginia (NWCA All-Star)

6-2 - Casey Strand, Arizona State

9-5 - Brad Vering, Nebraska (Big 12 finals)

6-1 - Brandon Eggum, Minnesota (NCAA finals)

 

Sophomore (1999-2000)

7-4 - Brandon Eggum, Minnesota (Cyclone/Nichols Open)

4-3 - Damion Hahn, Minnesota (Omaha Open)

5-1 - Lionel Halsey, CS-Bakersfield (Midlands)

7-2 - Nate Patrick, Illinois (Midlands)

*6-1 - Brandon Eggum, Minnesota (NWCA All-Star)

8-4 - Daniel Cormier, Oklahoma State (Big 12 finals)

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I don't think trenge came closer than 6-1? I remember him saying he wrestled him once and ran from him once. Did better running if i remember correctly. 

2001-12-30 MIDLND Northwestern 197 Sanderson, Cael Iowa State

LMD 6-16

 

2002-01-29 NWCA Hofstra 197 Sanderson, Cael Iowa State L 1-6

 

2002-03-23 NCAA Albany, NY 197 Sanderson, Cael Iowa State LMD 4-12

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during regular season of his freshman year, it seems to me there was more talk about Heskett than Cael. Post freshman year, there seemed to be a fair amount of 'well if you think Cael is good, wait until this Hahn guy gets here' type stuff.  

as for Imart, I think since the Cael run we've all learned to appreciate just how special that was and have learned to temper expectations....I mean Dustin was never going to lose after his freshman year right? (not that he was undefeated but point remains)

Edited by KTG119

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Leading up to the NCAA tournament during David Taylor's first year, there was a lot talk on here about him being the next undefeated guy. IMar?  Crickets. Not that many Illinois fans around here, I guess.

IMar beat some really good guys, I think more so than Cael Sanderson did and I'll be surprised if and when he loses.  Still - injuries and motivation will play out their role.

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4 years is a long time. Different guys will come along and challenge him in ways that the group from last year did not. While he currently looks dominant, no way of knowing just yet if he can beat everyone and beat them every time as well. 

 

There is also the possibility he outgrows 157 and has to face a whole different group of guys. Didn't he lose twice already to BoJo in high school? 

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It's hard to compare different generations and this comparison is even harder since we're looking at a mid weight wrestler vs. an upper weight wrestler. I do think the competition that iMar faced this year was greater than any year Cael had during his tenure (not taking anything away from Cael here, this is obviously not something he could control). I believe iMar's closest matches all year both were to Green, who many had picked as a champ going through half of the season. If Green were to win a medal at the world championships this year I think that will add greatly to the clout of iMar being better than Cael at this point in his career. I do think iMar looks more slick than Cael did, at least on his feet - but that may again come from him being at a smaller weight class. Next year a new group of studs get added, but I don't see any of them getting through iMar. Nolf looked good but wasn't even close against Green, but a year can change things up. A hot Ian Miller could be dangerous as well, but I don't see anybody else pushing iMar. In a couple years we could see Valencia step in possibly to offer a challenge, but he could be up a weight class or two and I wouldn't be surprised one bit. 

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It's hard to compare different generations and this comparison is even harder since we're looking at a mid weight wrestler vs. an upper weight wrestler. I do think the competition that iMar faced this year was greater than any year Cael had during his tenure (not taking anything away from Cael here, this is obviously not something he could control). I believe iMar's closest matches all year both were to Green, who many had picked as a champ going through half of the season. If Green were to win a medal at the world championships this year I think that will add greatly to the clout of iMar being better than Cael at this point in his career. I do think iMar looks more slick than Cael did, at least on his feet - but that may again come from him being at a smaller weight class. Next year a new group of studs get added, but I don't see any of them getting through iMar. Nolf looked good but wasn't even close against Green, but a year can change things up. A hot Ian Miller could be dangerous as well, but I don't see anybody else pushing iMar. In a couple years we could see Valencia step in possibly to offer a challenge, but he could be up a weight class or two and I wouldn't be surprised one bit. 

 

Just look at the close matches above for Cael his freshman year - had Eggum (2x finalist, world silver), Munoz (champ after moving out of Cael's weight), Vering (champ after moving out of Cael's weight, Olympian, world medalist IIRC) and Vertus Jones (2x finalist).  That doens't even include Olympian Hrovat who Cael pinned at NCAAs.  I don't see how you can put Green/Miller/Ness/Realbuto above those guys based on folkstyle or freestyle. 

 

As far as James Green, whatever he does in freestyle you can't transitive property onto I-Mart.  He beat him in folkstyle twice, both times he never got a TD and won on riding - which obviously means nothing in free.  And Green has always had more free success than folk, heck Green didn't make the NCAA semis until his senior year.  I take Green over I-Mart in a freestyle match...

 

Now I'm not sure or debating on what will happen from here on out for I-Mart, just saying that field doesn't top Cael's freshman year.  And like Cael you are likely going to see his freshman year being his toughest one, because like Cael people will move weights to get away from I-Mar. 

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I think after Cael's freshman year of going undefeated it got people talking but I was not thinking he was going to be able to four years unbeaten but he just kept improving every year plus no serious injuries that I know of.  Cael looking back was very special inded IMart looked very good this past season but as others have said four years seems like forever.

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based on the three or so matches of caels I have seen from his freshmen year, he improved drastically not just in ability but in terms of developing his style. 

 

If IMar shows up next year and halfway through the season we realize that what we saw this year was just raw talent COMPARED what he was obviously becoming (which is how i would describe Cael from freshmen to sophomore year), I'd have no trouble saying he goes unbeaten. 

 

And it doesn't seem far fetched either, as scary as IMar was last year, he wasn't dismantling guys on the strength of an air tight system no one could beat, he was just made everyone he wrestled look weak and stupid. Very excited to see him.  

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Right, you can't discount some of the talent Cael faced.  Eggum, Jones, Hahn, Hrovat, Sveda, Trenge were all top notch.  Cael was just that good.  

 

Edit:  Plus Cormier who may have been the best of that bunch.  Nobody realized it until post college perhaps.

Edited by LongShot

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Added Cormier.  You might want to go back and check out Trenge's career.  

I was a huge fan and know it better than you do I bet, but if you take the finals victories of the four time NCAA champs, he's pretty mediocre. 2-2-3 is an amazing achievement, but I don't really think his ceiling as a competitor was that high, but he reached it really quickly. 

 

Sorry for the extremely nuanced opinion, but I don't think Cael faced an exceptionally tough field. 

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That match with Vertus Jones in the all star dual was really close. There was a great scramble at the end of the match, had there been a few more seconds on the clock Jones may have scored the winning takedown. I have the video somewhere, should watch it again. After his RFR NCAA finals win against Eggum I thought he was going to  win 4. But then I was surprised when he needed an escape and a takedown in the last few seconds to beat Hahn in the beginning of his sophomore year.

Edited by VND

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