No. 21 ranked Stanford wrestling (0-1, 0-0 Pac-12) lost its season opener on Friday against No. 9 ranked Virginia Tech (1-0, 0-0 ACC). The Cardinal dropped the hard fought match 22-12, but displayed impressive performances from returners and freshmen. They bounced back Sunday during the invitational Hokie Open, claiming two individual titles and placing third in total team points.
With a depleted core roster, Stanford needed rookies to step up this weekend in order to beat a tough Virginia Tech team. All four of Stanford’s ranked returners won their matches, keeping the team afloat for a while.
No. 10 ranked 125-pound redshirt senior Connor Schram opened the match with a 6-1 decision win including an escape and a takedown in the third period and 1:13 of total riding time. All-American redshirt junior Paul Fox, ranked No. 9 in the 157-pound weight class, scored two takedowns in the first period and won his match with a 7-4 decision.
174-pound redshirt senior Keaton Subjeck netted an easy 4-1 decision, and No. 12 ranked heavyweight redshirt senior Nathan Butler dominated his match 4-0, highlighting the four total Cardinal victories on the day.
The rest of the team did not fare as well in their matches, as three total redshirt freshmen made their Cardinal debuts. Brandon Dallavia (165 pounds) and Nathan Traxler (197 pounds) were dominated 15-4 and 12-5 respectively, with Dallavia losing a major decision and costing the Cardinal ground in the total score.
The best freshman performance of the day belonged to 149-pound Requir van der Merwe, who was thrown into the fire in his first collegiate bout. He squared off against the No. 4 ranked 149-pound wrestler in the country, VT’s Solomon Chishko. Van der Merwe held his own, forcing a sudden victory period and barely dropping the bout 5-3.
After Friday’s match, the team stayed in Virginia for the Hokie Open invitational, hosted in Roanoke. The Cardinal found considerably more success, with Schram and Subjeck winning their weight classes and Traxler and Butler placing second in theirs. The Cardinal scored 109 points total, placing third overall in the tournament, behind Appalachian State (118) and North Carolina (155.5).
Schram rolled over his opponents for a quick 3-0 run through the 125-pound bracket. He improves to 4-0 on the season after a successful weekend. Subjeck also made an undefeated run, winning four matches to take the 174-pound title, including a major decision.
The upset of the day belonged to Traxler, however, as the unranked freshman took down the No. 8 ranked 197-pound Danny Chaid of North Carolina in sudden victory to reach the finals. He fell to Chattanooga’s Scottie Boykin in a tough 11-9 defeat. Butler, also placing second, won four straight in the heavyweight division before losing to No. 6 ranked Jacob Kasper from Duke.
Two strong runs in the tournament that ended abruptly belonged to Fox and van der Merwe. Fox took three straight games, two decisions and one fall, before losing one bout and then having to medically forfeit his next game due to an undisclosed injury. Van der Merwe dropped his first bout and then went on a five game tear to reach the fifth-place match before being stopped by a new NCAA rule that prevents wrestlers from participating in more than six bouts each day.
The Cardinal return home for two consecutive matches on Saturday, Nov. 11. The first will be against California Baptist and the second against CSU Bakersfield. The action begins at 2 p.m. Pacific.
Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada “at” stanford.edu