The Stanford wrestling team had its first home matches of the season on Sunday against Cal State Bakersfield and Menlo College, with the Bakersfield meet marking the Cardinal’s first Pac-12 dual of the season. The Stanford wrestlers started off their home season strong, beating Bakersfield 28-9 and demolishing Menlo College 41-3.
The dual against Bakersfield started out extremely close, with the Roadrunners winning three of the first six matches. But redshirt senior Nick Amuchastegui, ranked No. 1 in the country at 174 pounds, dominated his opponent. The Cardinal didn’t look back as it won the rest of the matches, all by major decision.
The match against Menlo College was even more decisive. The Card recorded four pins and lost just one match, which itself was decided on a questionable no-call that would have sent redshirt junior Matt Sencenbaugh’s match into overtime.
The team’s two nationally ranked wrestlers—Amuchastegui and No. 6 Ryan Mango—continued their undefeated season and are now 5-0. Amuchastegui looked very solid, recording two wins, one of which was a pin. In both matches, he seemed to execute every move perfectly both on his feet and on the mat.
Mango, a junior, looked equally prepared to wrestle as he won both of his matches, one by major decision and one by pin. Mango’s quickness was simply too much for the Bakersfield and Menlo wrestlers, neither of whom could handle his deadly low single.
The other Cardinal wrestlers who went a perfect 2-0 on Sunday were redshirt junior Timmy Boone at 149 pounds, sophomore Garrett Schaner at 157 pounds, redshirt junior Spence Patrick at 184 pounds, sophomore Alan Yen at 197 pounds and sophomore Dan Scherer at heavyweight.
After the match, head coach Jason Borrelli was very pleased.
“We did a lot of things better than we have the last couple of duals,” Borrelli said. “Hip defense and defending shots looked better. We did a good job of finishing when we go to their legs. We were very good from the top position as well.”
The Cardinal wrestlers showed their intelligence and mat-awareness during this weekend’s duals. On numerous occasions, Stanford wrestlers were fighting for extra points at the end of the match. One match in particular, the contest between Boone and Bakersfield’s Erik Martinez, exemplified the team’s ability to think on the mat. With only a few seconds left in the match, Boone was up by six and could have stalled until the referee raised his hand in victory. But Boone fought for a last-second takedown that put him up by eight, which gained a major decision and gave the team four crucial points.
The team has definitely improved from its duals last weekend against Northwestern, North Central College and Northern Illinois. The Card went 2-1 on the road trip, losing to a top-15 Northwestern team. In that dual, the Cardinal wrestlers were the ones being beaten from neutral and dominated on the mat. On Sunday, however, all wrestlers wore their opponents down by staying on top, accumulating riding time and scoring near-fall points.
But there is always room for improvement.
“We’ve still got to get better at putting a complete match together,” Borrelli said. “But I think with experience and conditioning, we’ll get to that point.”
One thing not to overlook is that the Cardinal is now 1-0 in the Pac-12. Although many don’t value the regular season, conference wins help seeding in the conference tournament.
“You want to send the right message, because you’re going to have to wrestle those guys at the end of the year to go to nationals,” Borrelli said.
On Sunday, the Cardinal will travel to Chattanooga, Tenn. to wrestle Central Michigan and Chattanooga.