If Cael Sanderson could say anything to the Penn State wrestling fan base, it would simply be “thank you.”
He had the chance to do that personally to the about 40 people who showed up Sunday at the University Park Airport to greet the team, which the night before had won its third straight national championship.
“It’s a team effort, a combined effort,” Sanderson said. “It’s everybody moving little pieces that gets the job done.”
He specifically cited the fans, season ticket holders and boosters who have showed the program support throughout his time at Penn State.
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One of those fans, Mark Matthews, of Kennett Square, said the support shown at the airport really embodied the dedication of the fans.
“I just think that says a lot about the community and the support it has for the wrestlers,” he said.
Matthews made the three-hour trip to welcome back his brother-in-law, Quentin Wright, who won his second individual national championship Saturday and finished his career as a four-time all-American for the Nittany Lions.
The senior and Bald Eagle Area graduate clinched the team national championship with his 8-6 win over Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore.
Lewistown resident Tim Pearce and his family also made the trip to welcome back Wright and the team. Pearce said they are big fans and go to many of the matches.
He simply described the three-peat as “awesome.”
Ed Ruth joined Wright in the winners circle and Nico Megaludis, David Taylor and Matt Brown finished as runners-up.
Some have begun calling the program a dynasty, but Sanderson said the team will just continue to do the best it can.
“We just take it one match at a time,” he said.