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New Book Chronicles ‘Dawn of a New Era’ of Penn State Wrestling

by and on June 28, 2019 5:00 AM

In his 10 years at the helm of the Penn State wrestling team, head coach Cael Sanderson has led the Nittany Lions to a run of success rarely seen in NCAA wrestling or any other collegiate sport.

A new book written and published by the Penn State Wrestling Club, “Dawn of a New Era,” details the first decade of the second century of Penn State wrestling, including the first nine years of Sanderson’s tenure.

“Dawn of a New Era” supplements the book that chronicled the first 100 years of Penn State wrestling, “A Century of Penn State Wrestling,” that was also written by Penn State Wrestling Club members and published in 2008. It contains facts, stories and photos from Penn State’s first season of collegiate wrestling in 1909 through the 2007-08 campaign.

The Penn State Wrestling Club, which was founded in 1981, is the official booster club of the wrestling team. The group organizes trips and pre-match socials, sells team-related clothing and supports the student-run Wrestling Affiliate Club.

“When we wrote the ‘Century’ book, it was meant to commemorate the historic milestone of 100 years as a Penn State sport,” said Connie Christiansen, the chair of the PSWC’s Historian Committee. “As the Sanderson era started to unfold, we thought it would be appropriate to write a supplement to the original. We never envisioned that the team would accumulate more team and individual championships in a decade than it had in the first 100 years of the program.”

During the decade detailed in the newest book, Penn State won seven NCAA championships, crowned 20 NCAA champions out of the team’s 32 NCAA finalists, claimed 51 All-American honors and produced four Hodge Trophy winners.

The new book picks up the narrative in the 2008-09 season and carries through to completion of the 2017-18 campaign. In addition to the 10 chapters that detail those seasons, the book contains chapters on the following topics:

• Rich Lorenzo’s continuing impact on the program;

• Radio play-by-play announcer Jeff Byers;

• Rules changes through the decade;

• The changing landscape of college wrestling;

• Academic and wrestling honors;

• The assault on Penn State’s wrestling record book;

• Freestyle and Greco-Roman highlights;

• Nittany Lions’ success on the world stage; and

• A history of the Penn State Wrestling Club.

“Much like the ‘Century’ book, ‘Dawn of a New Era’ has been a labor of love for the committee members who helped with the project,” said Allen Smith, the club’s president. “We feel that anyone who is a fan of Penn State wrestling, or college wrestling in general, would enjoy reading the information we have collected and written.”

Due to NCAA regulations, copies of “Dawn of a New Era” are complimentary with a donation of at least $50 to the Penn State Wrestling Club. “A Century of Penn State Wrestling” can be purchased from the PSWC for $28.

To obtain a copy of either book, visit and click Online Store.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Andly Elder covers Penn State wresting for The Centre County Gazette.
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