This weekend the Stanford wrestling team will face off against the San Francisco State Gators and the Southern Oregon Raiders.
Stanford (6-5, 3-0) is coming off a big conference win against Cal Poly, and the team hopes to carry its momentum through this weekend. San Francisco State (3-4) lost to Cal Poly recently and will try to bounce back against another tough Pac-12 opponent. The only tournament in which both of these teams competed was the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in early December, with Stanford finishing 25th overall and San Francisco State coming in 31st.
Southern Oregon is 6-2, and they have been wrestling extremely well lately. The Raiders are coming off a 41-3 win over Pacific, and prior to that dual they finished third at the Cliff Keen National Duals.
Both the Raiders and the Cardinal competed in the Reno Tournament of Champions in December. Southern Oregon finished 11th, and Stanford finished 16th. It might seem as if Southern Oregon has the edge going into this weekend, but when Stanford wrestled in Reno, the team was without top-ranked 174-pounder Nick Amuchastegui. If he had wrestled, he would have most likely placed, if not won, and the Card would have finished much higher than 16th.
While a team never wants to look past an opponent, this weekend’s duals shouldn’t be too much trouble for Stanford. The Cardinal is a top-25 team in Division I, whereas San Francisco State is a Division II program and Southern Oregon competes in the NAIA. A loss this weekend would be a huge disappointment and would greatly slow down the squad’s momentum as the team heads into the home stretch of the season.
There are some matchups that will be tough for Stanford wrestlers this weekend. San Francisco State’s Isaiah Jimenez is ranked No. 8 in the 165-pound weight class in Division II and will likely face Cardinal redshirt sophomore Bret Baumbach, who is coming off a win against Cal Poly.
Southern Oregon has four wrestlers who are ranked in the NAIA. Their top wrestler is No. 1 Mitchell Lofstedt at 125 pounds. Stanford forfeited that weight class against Cal Poly, but whoever wrestles Lofstedt will definitely have to fight hard.
At 174 pounds the Raiders will send out No. 2 Brock Gutches against Amuchastegui. It looks like this might be a close match, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Amuchastegui dominated, just as he did against a top-five opponent this past weekend.
Redshirt junior Spence Patrick of Stanford will face No. 3 Austin Vanderford. Patrick has wrestled especially well in 2012, and this match will be a good test for him. Southern Oregon’s final ranked wrestler is No. 8 Bubba Owens, who will wrestle against sophomore Dan Scherer.
Despite some tough matches in this weekend’s duals, expect the Card to carry their momentum and come out on top.
The Cardinal will wrestle against the Gators on Friday at 7 p.m. in San Francisco and against the Raiders on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion.