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Cael Sanderson Press Conference Notes, Jan 8, 2019

Coach Cael talked about his team’s performance at the Southern Scuffle, about Bo Pipher, Roman Bravo-Young & Anthony Cassar.

2012 Olympic Teams Trials - Wrestling Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Yesterday after practice, Cael Sanderson answered reporters’ questions. You can watch the video for free here, and I’ve transcribed some highlights for your reading pleasure.

On Gavin Teasdale:

Cael: “There was a chance” he was going to compete, but “more than anything, it was just having him with us on the trip, and just kind of getting him acclimated, back on the team and around the guys—that was the main purpose there.”

On when Teasdale might wrestle:

Cael: “Possibly soon...and possibly not at all. I know that’s probably not the answer you want to hear, but....”

On the team’s performance at the Scuffle:

Cael: “The Scuffle’s just a great tournament. The team score...and the setup is sort of like at Nationals. Coming off of Christmas break, we wouldn’t expect them to be at their best, right? But we do expect them to give great effort, and I think they did. I was happy and proud with the way they finished the tournament. I don’t think we wrestled fantastic, but if we were wrestling our best coming off of early January, we...we probably wouldn’t want that, right? We want to be at our best in March.”

On Bo Pipher:

Cael: “Not really (surprised)...that was something we talked about with the team afterwards...because, we have other guys on our team that aren’t starters, but could be having more success, they just have to believe in themselves. They have a lot of talent. They’re working hard. They’re training with ... unbelievable guys. You know, I think sometimes it’s easy when you’re behind a guy like Nolf and then Cenzo a weight above. Pipher was behind Zain at 49 a year before. It’s easy to ... maybe ... not see yourself as good as you really are. Pipher’s a great wrestlers, he’s got great skills. I was happy for him. I wouldn’t say I was super-surprised—but definitely happy for him because when kids are working hard, you wanna see them have success. He can wrestle, and he showed that.

Follow-up on Pipher: “You say it’s important that guys like that have belief in himself; have you ever seen him doubt himself?”

Cael: “Not’s just we have a lot of guys who are not starters who are going to open tournaments and I feel like they could be having more success than they are, right? I just believe they can win. I believe they can go to the Scuffle and win, whether they’re our starter or not. It’s a pretty simple sport, you know? It’s just a matter of scoring points. And with the training partners they have in here, I think...and Bo’s had a couple opportunities to wrestle in our starting lineup, and he’s done a great job for us. And he’ll probably have a couple more before it’s all over. But we want him training to become a National Champion, so that if he gets that opportunity, he’s ready for it. I think that ... hopefully, this will boost his confidence.

On Roman Bravo-Young, who it “seemed like he was sick, but wrestled pretty well”

Cael: “I think he was ... definitely standing around a little bit ... that first day, and we knew...I mean, I don’t wanna say somebody was sick or not sick. I feel like, it is what it is. I’m sure a lot of kids on other teams are sick. But I thought he did a nice job, I thought he finished the tournament strong. He was wrestling great against Gomez; Gomez is very tough...but I thought he finished the tournament ... definitely a lot stronger than he started it, and I think that should be great for him—even being able to go score 8 points—he scored 8 points on a Top-10 guy, before he had that...quick...sudden, not great finish. But I think he knows he can wrestle.

On RBY’s “wrestling IQ; was that a good lesson to learn at this point in the season—that you don’t do what the other guy’s good at, you do what you’re good at?”

Cael: “I think so. I think he knows that. I think Gomez is just really good in that position (the double underhooks). Once he had both of Roman’s arms up over his head, he was kinda in trouble there. I think the takeaway is ‘don’t let somebody get your arms up over your head.’ Right? So, I think he kinda was ... after he jumped to that big lead, he was kinda thinking prevent, hold on. And against most guys that’ll work, but a guy like Austin Gomez, he can score big points early, we’ve seen that. But for the most part, I’m really happy and proud for Roman, for really battling back and competing hard that second day.”

On “Cassar’s result; was there anything beneficial there”:

Cael: “I think everything has gotta be a positive. There’s something to learn, whether you win OR lose. Obviously learning (ed note: I think he meant ‘losing’ here) really reinforces things—and hurts a little bit more. With Derek White, he’s a big, strong, athletic type, with a lot of experience, comes from a great program. You know, Cassar’s just gotta step it up a notch, wrestle a little bit harder throughout the match, and finish your shots. But I think you’re talking about one of the guys who are title contenders—he’s right there. But I think he comes away from that...didn’t really have anything to lose; it can all be positive. It’s the choices he makes, and the way he sees it that are most important.”

Brady Berge also sat down in front of the camera, for a quick 1-minute video interview:

“Obviously our team is really good, we wrestled really well as a whole. We broke the scoring record. We’re moving forward every day, we’re gettin better. The guys in our room...with the guys in our room, it’s easy to get better, because everyone wants to be National Champions, and everyone wants to get better every day, so that makes it enjoyable.”

(this question was edited out, but I’m guessing it was on Bo Pipher’s performance)

Berge: “Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean, one thing, when you get here, you build a lot of relationships with the guys on the team, and it’s hard to leave. Like, a guy like that, who could go wrestle and start for a lot of other teams in the country, but he chooses not to. He chooses to train here in the best room and to be around the best people. And that’s pretty cool that he realizes that—and he’s not the only one who realizes that either.”

(guessing question was about himself)

Berge: “I feel good, both mentally and physically. Obviously, there’s ... a lot of room to improve, and I know I have a lot of room to improve. I know my capability, to compete. I’m focused on what I gotta do to get better, for the next match. And that’s where I’m at right now.