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Cael possibly "better" but Dake more accomplished

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If you want to have a "pound for pound" debate between Dake and Cael, and you want to take Cael, I can't argue with you. Cael was just so dominant, it's hard to go against that. (Though in fairness, Taylor was equally dominant when he wasn't wrestling Dake.)

 

But at the end of the day, it is clear that Dake wrestled tougher competiton. 3 of the 4 guys that Dake beat in the finals were NCAA champs, that is nuts. The LEAST accomplished guy that Dake beat was a 2x finalist, so basically a push with the MOST accomplished guy that Cael beat. There is the 4 weight classes. There is the lack of redshirt, which is a huge difference. I have a hard time calling Cael "undefeated" when he did lose a folkstyle match his freshman year. That match happened, we can't pretend that it didn't because he was a redshirt ...something Dake never did.

 

To be considered a better overall wrestler than Cael for his entire career, Dake needs a world level gold in the mantle piece. But it is fair to call Dake the more accomplished college wrestler. 4 titles without a redshirt over 3 NCAA champs trumps undefeated but a loss during the redshirt year and no finals wins against NCAA champs.

 

The truth is, while Taylor won't have the accomplishments quite to officially say it, IMO he is one of the 10 best college wrestlers of all time. And Dake beat him 4 times in less than a year. Cael may be "better" than Dake, I'm not sure. But Dake's accomplishment is more impressive when you factor in the opponents and redshirt situation.

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OCG said it well.

 

And I might add that had Cael wrestled a varsity schedule as a true freshman (instead of open tournaments) he might have had some losses the same way Pat Smith did (who DID wrestle varsity as a true freshman).

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If you want to have a "pound for pound" debate between Dake and Cael, and you want to take Cael, I can't argue with you. Cael was just so dominant, it's hard to go against that. (Though in fairness, Taylor was equally dominant when he wasn't wrestling Dake.)

 

But at the end of the day, it is clear that Dake wrestled tougher competiton. 3 of the 4 guys that Dake beat in the finals were NCAA champs, that is nuts. The LEAST accomplished guy that Dake beat was a 2x finalist, so basically a push with the MOST accomplished guy that Cael beat. There is the 4 weight classes. There is the lack of redshirt, which is a huge difference. I have a hard time calling Cael "undefeated" when he did lose a folkstyle match his freshman year. That match happened, we can't pretend that it didn't because he was a redshirt ...something Dake never did.

 

To be considered a better overall wrestler than Cael for his entire career, Dake needs a world level gold in the mantle piece. But it is fair to call Dake the more accomplished college wrestler. 4 titles without a redshirt over 3 NCAA champs trumps undefeated but a loss during the redshirt year and no finals wins against NCAA champs.

Let's also not forget that Cael made a World Team while in college.

The truth is, while Taylor won't have the accomplishments quite to officially say it, IMO he is one of the 10 best college wrestlers of all time. And Dake beat him 4 times in less than a year. Cael may be "better" than Dake, I'm not sure. But Dake's accomplishment is more impressive when you factor in the opponents and redshirt situation.

 

Don't forget that Cael made a World Team while still in college.

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One thing to remember is Cael couldn't have beat that many NCAA champs because he roadblocked that weight. The people's credentials can't be as high because he was taking those top spots for 4 years at the same weight for 3

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That's not entirely true. All 4 guys that Cael wrestled in the finals wrestled at the NCAA's without Cael in their bracket at other points. Eggum and Cormier never made another final. Vertus Jones did...but he got teched. Trenge made it the year after losing to Cael, but unlike Molinaro and St John he didn't win. Those are 4 good wrestlers, but not as good as Taylor, Molinaro, St. John and Marion.

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That's not entirely true. All 4 guys that Cael wrestled in the finals wrestled at the NCAA's without Cael in their bracket at other points. Eggum and Cormier never made another final. Vertus Jones did...but he got teched. Trenge made it the year after losing to Cael, but unlike Molinaro and St John he didn't win. Those are 4 good wrestlers, but not as good as Taylor, Molinaro, St. John and Marion.

Lol at any of those 4 being as good as Cormier.

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In college they were. You are judging Cormier by his post-college success. Is everyone that beat Jamil Kelly in college or Jon Jones in HS as good as them overall? In College, Cormier was not as good as St John or Molinao and couldn't remotely hold Taylor's jock. The year before the lost to Cael in the finals, Cormier DNP at the NCAA's. Great international wrestler. Great fighter. 1x D1 AA.

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In college they were. You are judging Cormier by his post-college success. Is everyone that beat Jamil Kelly in college or Jon Jones in HS as good as them overall? In College, Cormier was not as good as St John or Molinao and couldn't remotely hold Taylor's jock. The year before the lost to Cael in the finals, Cormier DNP at the NCAA's. Great international wrestler. Great fighter. 1x D1 AA.

 

You mean that Taylor kid who got pinned by a Bubba kid, and a Bubba kid that

Bubba kud got destroyed by Metcalf? So Metcalf > Taylor

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One thing to remember is Cael couldn't have beat that many NCAA champs because he roadblocked that weight. The people's credentials can't be as high because he was taking those top spots for 4 years at the same weight for 3

you would think people would put this together. Also, for all those who say he didn't beat guys who were that great, do you honestly think the results would've been any different had he faced a few more AA's? seriously...

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One thing to remember is Cael couldn't have beat that many NCAA champs because he roadblocked that weight. The people's credentials can't be as high because he was taking those top spots for 4 years at the same weight for 3

you would think people would put this together. Also, for all those who say he didn't beat guys who were that great, do you honestly think the results would've been any different had he faced a few more AA's? seriously...

 

Cael teched, majored or pinned the following NCAA champs. Mark Munoz, Brad Vering, Rob Rohn. He teched, majored or pinned several NCAA finalists, including Vertus Jones, Josh Lambrecht, Jon Trenge, Brandon Eggum and Daniel Cormier. He beat 2x NCAA champ Damian Hahn. The schedule that Sanderson wrestled was inherently tougher. Big 12 vs. EIWA is not a comparison. The Midlands in the late 90's was a much tougher tournament than today's event. The Scuffle didn't exist. He made a World Team while in college. I can add more if necessary

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One thing to remember is Cael couldn't have beat that many NCAA champs because he roadblocked that weight. The people's credentials can't be as high because he was taking those top spots for 4 years at the same weight for 3

you would think people would put this together. Also, for all those who say he didn't beat guys who were that great, do you honestly think the results would've been any different had he faced a few more AA's? seriously...

 

Cael teched, majored or pinned the following NCAA champs. Mark Munoz, Brad Vering, Rob Rohn. He teched, majored or pinned several NCAA finalists, including Vertus Jones, Josh Lambrecht, Jon Trenge, Brandon Eggum and Daniel Cormier. He beat 2x NCAA champ Damian Hahn. The schedule that Sanderson wrestled was inherently tougher. Big 12 vs. EIWA is not a comparison. The Midlands in the late 90's was a much tougher tournament than today's event. The Scuffle didn't exist. He made a World Team while in college. I can add more if necessary

 

Yeah Cael's career is insane. I think you can make a case for either Dake or Sanderson, but it's gonna have to be apples (4 weights, no redshirt) vs oranges (undefeated)

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We know that, for the most part, everyone was really impressed with Taylor's performance last year (as well as when he was a RFR). And when compared to Dake there was an overwhelming number of people who felt that Taylor was better. This number of Dake supporters grew with each meeting starting with the freestyle match.

 

But here are two very real posibilities: Bubba decides to go right into fighting and taylor dominates as a redshirt freshmen and redshirt sophomore. Everyone starts drawing comparisons between him and Cael.

Howe doesn't get hurt in the OTT and Dake doesn't train with and have the conversations with Burroughs over the course of the Olympic training telling him to jump up a weight.

 

We would be looking at a 3 time champion who is undefeated--Taylor and a 4 time Champion with two (or is it three) losses. Nearly everyone would be talking about the undefeated and dominate Taylor not realizing that the better wrestler was in fact Dake. Dake's performance as a freshman (much like Schlatters) was so impressive. The reason so many programs redshirt all their freshmen is that very few athletes can really excel in their first season.

 

Add in the bell shaped curve factor--the middle weights are where more wrestlers reside--There is no doubt a case to be made for Dake.

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Both of these guys entered the toughest folk-style wrestling tournament in the world four times and neither of them ever lost a match. Accomplishments can almost be assessed by an outsider who has never seen either of them wrestle. Championships, Awards, Trophies, etc. The whole quantity and timing of their career loses really speaks more to their injury prevention, health, class schedule, personal life, and a million other diversions which life throws at a D1 wrestler, which they both somehow miraculously steered though. I can't see how you can take a couple 7-minute, non-championship matches in a vacuum out of four-five years worth of living in the world and decide who is the better wrestler out of the two. They both accomplished everything they could.

 

When I personally look at who is a better, that is a measure of the maximal skill level achieved during their career. Here the comparison is by nature subjective and riddled with our opinions. My take on it is:

 

Dake absolutely mastered a set of fundamental skills which most wrestlers posses. His match intelligence, ability to finish techniques, toughness, and control are only rivaled by his insane physical and technical improvement from year to year. Dake took the set of rules and relatively strait forward approach and, through sheer force of will at times, outclassed and outscored his opponents. I never looked at one of Dake's matches and thought that he made wrestling look easy; it looked difficult, brutal, and hard fought...and he looked like the dude who was more brutal, fought harder, and knew it better than anyone else.

 

Cael possessed a skill set which was far far less common in my eyes. The ways which he moved, and the creativity and inventiveness which seemed so naturally flow during his matches just left our jaws unhinged. Honestly, it looked like he was cheating, or playing an entirely different game than his opponents.. even when he wrestled the very best guys. He never seemed to be trying hard to me, he was just consistently in the place he needed to be before anyone could have possibly realized that was the place to be. Only a couple guys like B. Satiev had that kind of wizardry to make the other guy look like he was wrestling five people at once, blindfolded, and drugged.

 

So, what I think people are really saying when they say that Cael is "better" than Dake (or that Dake is "better" than Cael) is that they value one of these ways of wrestling, and of winning over the other. To me, they are greatest 'strait-forward' and 'game-changing/unique' wrestlers in NCAA history, separately. I tend to favor the wizardry style personally, but to look at Dake and say that anyone is definitely 'better' than him at folkstyle wrestling is pretty laughable.

 

On a side note: I think this is also why some posters here will always claim (or silently think at this point) that Taylor is a better wrestler than Dake. Taylor is such a wrestling genius/savant like Cael, that just is so entertaining and mesmerizing. Obviously, this phenomena exists in art, music, literature, etc, and I'm sure that no one would struggle to find examples of debate between creativity and expansion vs. mastery and fundamentals.

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Both of these guys entered the toughest folk-style wrestling tournament in the world four times and neither of them ever lost a match. Accomplishments can almost be assessed by an outsider who has never seen either of them wrestle. Championships, Awards, Trophies, etc. The whole quantity and timing of their career loses really speaks more to their injury prevention, health, class schedule, personal life, and a million other diversions which life throws at a D1 wrestler, which they both somehow miraculously steered though. I can't see how you can take a couple 7-minute, non-championship matches in a vacuum out of four-five years worth of living in the world and decide who is the better wrestler out of the two. They both accomplished everything they could.

 

When I personally look at who is a better, that is a measure of the maximal skill level achieved during their career. Here the comparison is by nature subjective and riddled with our opinions. My take on it is:

 

Dake absolutely mastered a set of fundamental skills which most wrestlers posses. His match intelligence, ability to finish techniques, toughness, and control are only rivaled by his insane physical and technical improvement from year to year. Dake took the set of rules and relatively strait forward approach and, through sheer force of will at times, outclassed and outscored his opponents. I never looked at one of Dake's matches and thought that he made wrestling look easy; it looked difficult, brutal, and hard fought...and he looked like the dude who was more brutal, fought harder, and knew it better than anyone else.

 

Cael possessed a skill set which was far far less common in my eyes. The ways which he moved, and the creativity and inventiveness which seemed so naturally flow during his matches just left our jaws unhinged. Honestly, it looked like he was cheating, or playing an entirely different game than his opponents.. even when he wrestled the very best guys. He never seemed to be trying hard to me, he was just consistently in the place he needed to be before anyone could have possibly realized that was the place to be. Only a couple guys like B. Satiev had that kind of wizardry to make the other guy look like he was wrestling five people at once, blindfolded, and drugged.

 

So, what I think people are really saying when they say that Cael is "better" than Dake (or that Dake is "better" than Cael) is that they value one of these ways of wrestling, and of winning over the other. To me, they are greatest 'strait-forward' and 'game-changing/unique' wrestlers in NCAA history, separately. I tend to favor the wizardry style personally, but to look at Dake and say that anyone is definitely 'better' than him at folkstyle wrestling is pretty laughable.

 

On a side note: I think this is also why some posters here will always claim (or silently think at this point) that Taylor is a better wrestler than Dake. Taylor is such a wrestling genius/savant like Cael, that just is so entertaining and mesmerizing. Obviously, this phenomena exists in art, music, literature, etc, and I'm sure that no one would struggle to find examples of debate between creativity and expansion vs. mastery and fundamentals.

 

Brilliant...indeed creative writing at its finest. Thank you for the good read.

 

Denny

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OCG said it well.

 

And I might add that had Cael wrestled a varsity schedule as a true freshman (instead of open tournaments) he might have had some losses the same way Pat Smith did (who DID wrestle varsity as a true freshman).

----

 

Excellent point, and that is why the RS yr or lack of it has to be a consideration when talking about all time greats.

 

A RS year is extremely valuable... look what it did for Taylor.

 

To come out of HS and win an ncaa title as a tr fr is extremely rare. We'll never know, but I have doubts Cael would've won as a true fr. We do know that he lost a match that season to Jenn, and we do know, despite entering open competitions, he didn't face the truly elite guys during his true fr year.

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If you want to have a "pound for pound" debate between Dake and Cael, and you want to take Cael, I can't argue with you. Cael was just so dominant, it's hard to go against that. (Though in fairness, Taylor was equally dominant when he wasn't wrestling Dake.)

 

But at the end of the day, it is clear that Dake wrestled tougher competiton. 3 of the 4 guys that Dake beat in the finals were NCAA champs, that is nuts. The LEAST accomplished guy that Dake beat was a 2x finalist, so basically a push with the MOST accomplished guy that Cael beat. There is the 4 weight classes. There is the lack of redshirt, which is a huge difference. I have a hard time calling Cael "undefeated" when he did lose a folkstyle match his freshman year. That match happened, we can't pretend that it didn't because he was a redshirt ...something Dake never did.

 

To be considered a better overall wrestler than Cael for his entire career, Dake needs a world level gold in the mantle piece. But it is fair to call Dake the more accomplished college wrestler. 4 titles without a redshirt over 3 NCAA champs trumps undefeated but a loss during the redshirt year and no finals wins against NCAA champs.

Let's also not forget that Cael made a World Team while in college.

The truth is, while Taylor won't have the accomplishments quite to officially say it, IMO he is one of the 10 best college wrestlers of all time. And Dake beat him 4 times in less than a year. Cael may be "better" than Dake, I'm not sure. But Dake's accomplishment is more impressive when you factor in the opponents and redshirt situation.

 

Don't forget that Cael made a World Team while still in college.

------

 

And to be thorough, let's note that to make that World team while in college, Cael had to beat Eggum in the finals.

 

To make the World team after his jr year, Dake would've had to beat the reigning World gold medalist Jordan

Burroughs.

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This is a stupid ass argument. After Cael won his fourth title I can remember people on the boards saying he didn't beat anyone noteworthy on the way to his titles. It is hard to beat any defending champs when you are the defending champ! Let's just say they are both monsters in their own right and leave it at that. Kyle Dake is remarkable and I hope he continues on to international success.

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The fact that Dake didn't take a red-shirt, while Cael did, is not that dispositive for me, although it's certainly impressive by Dake. But some of that is maturational, which is only somewhat relevant to me.

 

In terms of 4 championships in 4 weight classes, Cael couldn't do what Dake did because there weren't 4 weight classes in regular increments for him to grow into. After '97, he would have had to become a heavy, and that doesn't fit his body type at all.

 

What I remember about Sanderson, more so than Dake, was what a killer he was. Just as one example, I recall him pinning Brad Vering in the semis one year, and Vering didn't know what hit him. It was like lightning had struck. With Cael, there were a lot of "jaw dropping" moments like that.

 

In terms of the competition, the list of Sanderson's opponents is a who's who: Brandon Eggum; Brad Vering; Mo Lawal; Daniel Cormier; Justin Ruiz; Lee Fullhart; John Trenge.

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When one defaces (effacing significant detail) the sacred 159-0, I feel angry. I don't have fun when I am angry. My spouse turns her beautiful back to me. Our children run to their rooms only to holler "I love you Daddy."

 

How soon we forget. Perhaps not all had the pleasure of watching the professor. I promise, I watched poetry in motion.

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Denny, I am with you. I don't remember when you coined the "Professor" term, but it stuck and was most appropriate. Watching him wrestle truly was an act of art. He was quick, slick, strong, and could score from any position. There will never be another Cael Sanderson. Four titles, Four OW's, and Three Hodges coupled with an undefeated official record is nothing to sneeze at. Praising the accomplishments of both Kyle Dake and Professor Cael doesn't mean we have to denigrate the other. We may see another 4-timer, but I doubt we will see another 4 times in 4 weights, and I am certain we will never see another Cael.

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