When Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 restrictions barred indoor practices, Stanford wrestling got creative. The team moved its mats outdoors and dodged the weather as best they could, settling under covered spaces in Stanford Stadium when it rained. Regardless of location, the team’s practices appear to have paid off.
After beating CSU Bakersfield (0-2 Pac-12) with a score of 29-13 on Sunday, Stanford (1-0 Pac-12) now aims to take down California Baptist University (0-3, 0-0 Conf.) on Thursday. Immediately after, the Cardinal will face Cal Poly (2-1, 1-1 Pac-12). Both matches will take place in San Luis Obispo.
The Cardinal has historically fared well against CBU, winning the last seven matchups. From those who won their match last year against CBU, sophomores Nick Addison, Luciano Arroyo, Jackson DiSario, Seamus O’Malley and Dawson Sihavong, redshirt sophomore Tyler Eichens, redshirt junior Ethan Woods and redshirt senior Jared Hill will compete again in this year’s match again.
Redshirt sophomores Shane Griffith and Real Woods — both of whom were 2020 NWCA First Team All Americans and NCAA Tournament qualifiers — will also have a positive influence in the match.
Of the freshmen, Jason Miranda and Nick Stemmet are particularly strong candidates to make an immediate impact for the Cardinal.
“All the young guys that competed did very well and I felt like they controlled their nerves well,” said head coach Jason Borelli, asked about the team’s performance in the last match.
“Jason Miranda ended up getting a pin over a really pretty good opponent, and then Nick Stemmet wrestled really well at 197 pounds — a dominating win,” he added.
Stanford, who owns a 10-match win streak against the Mustangs, also has favorable chances against Cal Poly. The Cardinal has been training and living at Cal Poly’s facilities in San Luis Obispo this week. Although the Mustangs have an overall winning record, their loss this season came against Oregon State — a team which Stanford defeated in the 2019-2020 season. Given that the team has stayed somewhat similar, the Cardinal should come out with another victory.
Although Stanford has found success in the young season, there are always skills to improve upon.
“We need to work on the bottom position a bit,” said Borrelli. “It was not that we didn’t get out of them, but it just took us longer than I would have hoped.”
Heading into Thursday, players will bear this in mind while also bringing the confidence and “offensive mindset” from the previous dual, Borelli said.
As they did on Sunday, when the team takes to the mat this week, they’ll also be wearing their new uniform: all-black singlets which bear neither the university’s logo nor the words “Stanford Cardinal.” Borrelli said that players felt more comfortable wearing the all-black singlets due to the University’s decision last summer to cut the wrestling program.
“This year, we’re doing all things for each other, for the family, and we want to be united and representing the wrestling program as one,” he said.
The team will face off against CBU on Thursday at 12 p.m. PT and Cal Poly at 2 p.m. PT.