Sanderson Pins Down Another Commit

Pennslyvania middleweight star Hammond the latest wrestler to announce for two-time defending national champ Penn State.

Garett Hammond didn't expect to be visiting University Park late last week. The Chambersburg (Pa.) High senior had already stopped by Penn State in early fall on an official visit, but wanted to make an additional trip to Happy Valley.

This time, it wasn't to learn more about his decision. It was to announce it.

Hammond took the short drive from Chambersburg to University Park for Penn State's intrasquad dual last Thursday to tell Penn State wrestling coach Cael Sanderson in person that he was joining the Nittany Lions' cCass of 2013.

“It was a very difficult process, and it overwhelming at first, Hammond said. “There were a lot of coaches in contact with me last fall and spring. I was trying to narrow down my choices and decide, and I just felt I could achieve my goals best at Northwestern, Drexel, Maryland or Penn State.

“And Penn State was the best,” he added.

Hammond is the fourth wrestler to join the Sanderson's Class of 2013. He heads into his senior season after winning a PIAA state title at 145 pound, and finishing second at last month's Super 32 tournament at 152 pounds (where he'll wrestle interscholastically this season).

“I ended up losing in the finals, so it was a little disappointing,” Hammond said of the Super 32 tournament. He lost to Minnesota's Mark Hal. “But you learn something every time you lose. It was the first tournament of the season, so it sets the tone for the rest of the year.

“I just have to keep working on my stuff, and working on always moving my feet and looking to come out fast and score,” he added.

Sanderson told the senior that he targets him at either 157 or 165 pounds after a likely redshirt season his first year on campus.

“Coach Sanderson mentioned me at 157 or 165, and basically they have some very good guys there with the Altons and (David) Taylor, so I'm thinking I'm going to redshirt next year while I keep improving every day and put in the hard work to reach the goals I have,” Hammon said.

Hammond noted the staff and other wrestlers in the Nittany Lions' room tilted his decision.

“Coach Sanderson said he felt like we can do really great things here, and he told me about all the great athletes and coaches they have,” Hammond said. “In my opinion they have the best coaching staff in the country, and Coach Sanderson told me they wouldn't be talking to me if they didn't think I had the ability to accomplish my goals.

“I really like what they are about, and I really just fell in love with the school,” he added.

The PIAA will kicks off its' season soon, and so will Hammond, spending his senior year toiling right in the middle of a stacked Chambersburg lineup.

“A goal of mine this season is too finish undefeated, but I'm also excited for the Iron Man tournament as well as the Beast of the East,” Hammond said, talking about a pair of elite high school wrestling tournaments. “We have a good team at Chambersburg, and I'm excited to get started with them and start trying to reach my goal of winning those two tournaments.”

Winning them won't be easy, but the 152-pound standout will rely on his endurance and offensive style, a way of wrestling that Penn State fans will recognize as one that embodies the philosophy of Sanderson's room.

“I feel like I'm pretty good on the mat, top and bottom, and a lot of kids' mention I'm very tough on top,” Hammond said. “I like to score late in the match, and as the match goes on I really get things going.

“I like to keep scoring and grinding, and keep the points coming on the board,” he added. “I really focus on my conditioning, and to take any advantages I can to wear my opponents out.”

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