Ten months after finishing second in the Pac-12 Championships, Stanford wrestling competed in its first Pac-12 match of the 2021 season. The No. 11/17 Cardinal defeated CSU Bakersfield 29-13 in what was a triumphant return for the program.
Stanford won seven of the 10 bouts on Sunday, as well as five out of the six extra matches that took place for additional training.
Redshirt senior and captain Requir van der Merwe, redshirt sophomore Tyler Eischens and redshirt sophomore Shane Griffith set the tone for the dual by starting it off with three straight victories. Griffith, a 2020 Hodge Trophy Finalist, remains unbeaten at the collegiate level with the bout win.
Two freshmen — Nick Stemmet and Jason Miranda — made strong first impressions in their Cardinal debuts. Both came away with victories, including a 16-5 major decision in the 197-pound weight class for Stemmet and a fall for Miranda at the 6:01 mark.
Sophomore Jackson DiSario took part in what was the most competitive match of the day. After falling behind early, he escaped with a win in overtime with his third and final takedown of the Roadrunners’ Eddie Flores.
Ranked No. 15 in the 149-pound weight class, redshirt freshman Jaden Abas handled Kalani Tonge en route to a 13-6 victory to finish the dual.
Eischens, sophomore Dawson Sihavong, redshirt freshman Logan Ashton and true freshman Charlie Darracott and Peter Ming all took part in — and recorded wins in — the extra bouts held before and after the dual. For Ashton, Darracott and Ming, these matches were their first for the Cardinal.
Sunday marked the first opportunity for the program to compete following the COVID-19 pandemic, which cut the team’s 2020 season short. Five wrestlers were set to represent Stanford at the NCAA Tournament in late March of last year.
Just months later, the University announced that it will cut its wrestling program, along with 10 others, following the conclusion of this 2021 season. In response, the wrestling program has raised more than $10 million with hopes to reverse the University’s decision.
For now, the Cardinal will set their sights on Thursday’s matchup against California Baptist, currently set to begin at 12:00 p.m. PT in San Luis Obispo.
Contact Jeremy Rubin at jjmrubin ‘at’ stanford.edu.