This weekend the Stanford wrestling team (8-6, 3-1 Pac-12) will wrestle in two duals, against the Utah Valley Wolverines at home on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and against the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe, Ariz., on Sunday at 11 a.m. The Cardinal will also wrestle in the California Collegiate Open on Saturday. But after this weekend’s heavy workload, the Cardinal will get a brief respite, as it will not wrestle again until the Pac-12 Championships on Feb. 26.
This Friday’s match against Utah Valley (3-7, 0-3 Western Wrestling Conference) will be the final home event for the Cardinal this season. The Cardinal and Wolverines have wrestled two common opponents, Boise State and Chattanooga, and both teams beat Boise State but lost to Chattanooga. However, the Card wrestled a much closer match against Chattanooga and scored more points than the Wolverines against Boise State.
The two teams have also competed in two of the same tournaments: the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Midlands Championships. Stanford finished 25th at both tournaments without injured star Nick Amuchastegui, while Utah Valley finished 23rd in Las Vegas and 24th at Midlands.
Utah Valley comes into the dual with one ranked wrestler, No. 12 Josh Wilson at 149 pounds. The junior is 13-6 on the year, including a victory over Stanford junior Timmy Boone at the Las Vegas Invitational by a score of 3-2.
The California Collegiate Open will take place at San Francisco State University. Wrestlers who are redshirting are allowed to wrestle in the tournament but will wrestle unattached, meaning that their wins will not contribute to the team score. This will likely be the final opportunity for most freshmen to compete in matches this season.
Finally, Stanford will end the regular season on Sunday at struggling Arizona State (6-10, 2-2 Pac-12). The Sun Devils’ only win in 2012 was a seven-point victory over Cal State-Bakersfield. Prior to Sunday’s win over Bakersfield, the Sun Devils had lost seven duals in a row.
Arizona State doesn’t have any ranked wrestlers, but Stanford will have some tough matches come Sunday. Sun Devil senior 174-pounder Eric Starks finished third last year in the Pac-12 Tournament and qualified for the NCAAs, though he shouldn’t give Amuchastegui much trouble. Amuchastegui hasn’t wrestled many close matches this season and has blown out multiple ranked opponents.
Sun Devil heavyweight Levi Cooper is an All-American, so he should have a good match against Cardinal sophomore Dan Scherer, who is unranked but has put together a very strong season.
Stanford is coming off a tough loss to top-15 Oregon State, so the squad needs to bounce back this weekend. The Cardinal’s wrestlers will need to build on their strong second half of the season in the final weekend before the postseason.