Mixed results turned the Stanford wrestling team’s trip to Columbia, Mo., this past Saturday into a bittersweet visit as the Cardinal fell to 4-3 on the young season. The Cardinal picked up one in each column, yet the win against South Dakota State early on in the day was overshadowed by the crushing defeat by No. 7 Missouri.
Not to be deterred by the Tigers’ menacing stats—Mizzou boast five wrestlers ranked in the top 10 and have two shut-out victories in three dual matches—the Cardinal went headfirst into its afternoon dual against Missouri, the reigning Big 12 Champions. They offered up a formidable lineup including No. 2 heavyweight Dom Bradley, a sophomore All-American, and Alan Waters, ranked fourth in the country.
Both Waters and Bradley proved to be difficult matchups for Stanford’s junior Dan Scherer and sophomore Evan Silver respectively. Scherer put up an especially good fight against Bradley, failing to pull out with a win after falling 2-1 in the tiebreaker.
Although Stanford surrendered an agonizing 31 team points to Missouri, junior Kyle Meyer managed to escape his upset win against Kyle Bradley with three team points for the Cardinal. In their third ever match-up against the Tigers, Stanford had originally looked to avenge the 26-9 victory by Missouri at the Farm last year. Unfortunately, they were unable to make a dent in Missouri’s hot start to the season, now with an undefeated record of 5-0.
“We felt confident going into both duals,” Stanford captain Timmy Boone said. “We knew Missouri was a good team and had some tough, highly ranked wrestlers in the country, but rankings are just rankings…We were very close to beating some very good opponents at some weights, and it just goes to show us how our hard work is helping us make huge gains against some highly-touted opponents.”
The loss to Missouri follows two other harsh losses, one against Michigan and the other against Northwestern, in the first couple weeks of November.
The Stanford-South Dakota State dual was much closer, but the Cardinal edged out the win with the help of key decisions by Silver and Stanford captain Timmy Boone. Boone’s 12-10 decision turned around the Cardinal luck as SDSU led after the first five matches.
The technical fall of junior Garrett Schaner to Jackrabbits wrestler Cody Pack with a 20-4 loss was the one major setback for the Cardinal, but true freshman Tommy Kimbrell narrowly defeated John Nething II to put Stanford ahead with 13 team points to the Jackrabbit 11. Michael Sojka sealed the deal for the Cardinal after he shut out Brandon Ballard in the 197-pound matchup with a score of 5-0. Schrer’s heavyweight decision against J.J. Everard ended the dual with a final score of 22-11.
The Cardinal season has slowed considerably, considering that their last four meets have resulted in only one win, dismissing the high hopes for this year after an early season three meet winning streak. Yet, with a winning record, Stanford still has a slim chance to qualify individuals for the NCAA Championship and possibly surpass their final rank from last year of 11th in the nation. Last year, senior Ryan Mango finished fifth at the Championships and he has a chance to do it again.
The guidance and experience of 5th-year coach Jason Borrelli has surely contributed to the preparation and stamina of the team. Borrelli’s leadership will be especially necessary after the demoralizing loss to Mizzou and his direction will be crucial in helping build Cardinal momentum before the next meet in Reno during winter break. Before then, though, the team has a two-week break to reflect on how they can fix their slump.
“The team is going to work on some of the more technical areas in the coming weeks before Reno that we didn’t have much time to touch on in the preseason and past couple weeks,” said Boone. “We’re confident that come Reno, we’ll be in great physical shape and will be well-prepared to upset some tough opponents.”