2002 NCAA Champions
Bottom row (l. to r.): Stephen Abas, Johnny Thompson, Aaron Holker, Jared Lawrence, Luke Becker.
Top row (l. to r.): Joe Heskett, Greg Jones, Rob Rohn, Cael Sanderson, Tommy Rowlands.
by Jim Nordland
Albany, New York-Minnesota won their second consecutive crown at the 72nd annual NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships held st the Pepsi Arena in Albany, New York. The Golden Gopher successfully defended their title as they crowned two champions and had seven All-Americans. They amassed 126.5 points and outdistanced runner-up Iowa State (104), Oklahoma (101.5), perennial Iowa (89) and Oklahoma State (82.5). Coach J. Robinson's squad were led by champions Jared Lawrence (32-3) at 149 pounds and Luke Becker (37-3) at 157, both are junios and will lead a strong contingent for a possible three-peat at the 2003 championships. Iowa State claimed three individual champions including phenomenal Cael Sanderson (40-0, 159-0 career mark) at 197 pounds. Sanderson dominated the field and
posted a solid 12-4 major decision in the finals over tough Jon Trenge (34-4) of Lehigh. Sanderson opened the bout with a powerful double and put Trenge to his back, but Trenge fought valiantly and escaped to bring the bout to 5-1. Early in the second period Trenge escaped and Sanderson used his patented ankle pick to build a 9-2 lead. In the third stanza Sanderson hit a nice switch and added riding time to coast to his 159th straight victory.
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Sanderson putting Trenge to his back.