The No. 16 Stanford wrestling team had a disappointing weekend, dropping duals to the Utah Valley Wolverines and the Arizona State Sun Devils, two teams that have losing records in dual meets. The Cardinal (8-8, 3-2 Pac-12) lost to Utah Valley on Friday by a score of 25-10 and lost to Arizona State on Sunday by a score of 22-15. Some wrestlers, mostly freshmen, wrestled in the California Collegiate Open in San Francisco on Saturday, and two Cardinal wrestlers placed.
In the match against Utah Valley, Stanford forfeited at 125 pounds once again. Head coach Jason Borrelli has chosen to do this numerous times this season. This past weekend, Borrelli likely wanted to give No. 8 Ryan Mango some time off after a tough, physical match against Oregon State. But forfeiting that weight class put the Card down by six to start the match.
The Wolverines then won three consecutive matches, two by decision and one by major decision, to go up 16-0. Stanford won three of the final six matches. At 157 pounds, sophomore Garrett Schaner won by decision; at 174 pounds, redshirt senior No. 1 Nick Amuchastegui won by major decision; and at 184 pounds, redshirt junior Spence Patrick won by decision.
The match against Arizona State was much closer—if the Card had won one more individual match, it might have won the dual. Once again, however, Stanford got off to a slow start, digging itself into a 22-3 hole. The only win in the team’s first seven matches was an 8-1 victory by redshirt junior Matt Sencenbaugh, who was wrestling for the first time in a month. The team finished the match with three consecutive major decisions by Schaner, redshirt sophomore Bret Baumbach at 165 pounds and Amuchastegui.
At the California Collegiate Open, freshmen 125-pounder Evan Silver and 197-pounder Michael Sojka placed fourth and third, respectively. Silver won three matches, including a major decision and a pin. Sojka won four matches and looked very impressive, recording two major decisions and a pin in the match for third place.
This past weekend was definitely a tough one for Stanford, especially for a team that started off 2012 looking very impressive. The Cardinal won four of its first five matches in the new year, but has lost three straight since. Last weekend, the Card lost a close match to a very good Oregon State team, and, despite the loss, the team looked poised to bounce back and win at least one of its final two duals. But in both duals, Stanford lost a lot of close matches, and in the end those losses added up.
Despite the tough losses, there are some positives to take away from this weekend. If Mango had wrestled, both matches would have likely been much closer; in fact, Stanford would likely have beaten Arizona State. Amuchastegui remained undefeated by winning both of his matches. He is now 18-0 overall and finishes the regular season with a perfect 15-0 dual record.
The team will have plenty of time to learn from its mistakes this weekend, as it does not have another match until the Pac-12 Championships in Boise, Idaho on Feb. 26. That tournament will determine which wrestlers go to the NCAA Tournament in March, and there is a good chance that many wrestlers will have rematches against Arizona State wrestlers in Boise, making the next few weeks even more important.