By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
Cael Sanderson (right) and Chas Betts won medals at the Ion Corneanu Memorial on Saturday in Romania.
TARGOVISTE, Romania – Cael Sanderson’s return to international competition was a successful one.
Sanderson dominated in three matches to win the Ion Corneanu Memorial on Saturday.
Sanderson swept Moldova’s Balaur Dionis 6-0, 6-0 in the freestyle finals at 84 kg/185 lbs. Sanderson, 32, the head coach at Penn State, was competing internationally for the first time since he won the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
American Chas Betts won a bronze medal in the Greco-Roman competition on Saturday at 84 kg/185 lbs.
Sanderson opened with a first-period pin over Shota Thurashvili of Austria before downing Jaime Espinal of Puerto Rico 1-1, 6-0. Espinal trains with Sanderson at the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club. Espinal placed third. Espinal has placed as high as second at the Pan American Championships and took fourth at the 2011 Dave Schultz Memorial International.
Sanderson returned to the mat this year and won the U.S. World Team Trials in June. He will compete in next month’s World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Sanderson won a silver medal at the only World Championships he competed in during the 2003 Worlds in New York City.
American Jake Varner will compete on Sunday at 96 kg/211.5 lbs. Varner was a quarterfinalist at the 2009 World Championships in Denmark and will compete at the Worlds next month.
Betts, a 2009 World Team member, fell to Hungary’s Peter Bacsi in the semifinals. Bacsci placed second in the 2011 European Championships and fifth in the 2008 Olympic Games.
Betts defeated Fisnik Zahiti of Sweden in the bronze-medal match. Zahiti competed in the 2009 World Championships.
U.S. freestyle results
84 kg/185 lbs. – Cael Sanderson, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC) – 1st
WIN Shota Thurashvili (Austria), pin 1st period
WIN Jaime Espinal (Puerto Rico) 1-1, 6-0
WIN Balaur Dionis (Moldova), 6-0, 6-0
U.S. Greco-Roman results
55 kg/121 lbs. – Nikko Triggas, Moraga, Calif. (Ohio RTC)
WIN David Borsos (Hungary)
LOSS Jorge Cordoza (Venezuela)
LOSS Islamov Donior (Moldova)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – C.P. Schlatter, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
LOSS Cojocari Ilie (Moldova)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Ryan Hope, Carol Stream, Ill. (USOEC)
LOSS Ben Provisor (USA)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Ben Provisor, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
WIN Ryan Hope (USA)
WIN Vincenzo Scibilia (Italy)
LOSS Peter Bacsi (Hungary)
LOSS Fisnik Zahiti (Sweden)
84 kg/185 lbs. – Chas Betts, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Minnesota Storm) – 3rd
WIN Parvan Dorin (Romania)
WIN Oleg Shokalov (Russia)
LOSS Peter Bacsi (Hungary)
WIN Fisnik Zahiti (Sweden)
120 kg/264.5 lbs. – Brandon Rupp, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)
LOSS Anatolie Moldovan (Moldova)