Wrestling gears up for first test of the season in Little Rock

Jan. 30, 2021, 7:40 p.m.

Stanford wrestling (3-0, 3-0 Pac-12) will face off against Little Rock (2-6, 1-3 Pac-12), South Dakota State (2-3, 1-2 Big 12) and the University of Oklahoma (2-3, 1-2 Big 12) in a triple header in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Sunday.

In the 2019-2020 season, Stanford beat Little Rock with a score of 38-10. Returning wrestlers from that duel include redshirt senior captain Requir Van der Merwe, redshirt juniors Foster Karmon and Ethan Woods, redshirt sophomore Gabe Dinette and sophomores Fabian Santillan, Nick Addison and Seamus O’Malley. However, of these athletes, only Van der Merwe, Woods, Addison and O’Malley participated in Stanford’s Thursday matches against California Baptist and Cal Poly.

Like Stanford, Little Rock beat CSU Bakersfield earlier this season. However, while Stanford had a comfortable win, finishing with a score of 29-13, the Trojans just barely came out on top with a score of 24-21, with one decision win being the difference. 

Furthermore, the Trojans fell to Cal Poly by a large margin of 25 points, while Stanford managed to win Thursday’s match against the Mustangs with a score of 21-15. 

Prospects are not as bright for the Cardinal’s duel against South Dakota State. The teams faced each other in the 2019-2020 season, during which Stanford lost by 30 points. Of those who wrestled, only then-redshirt freshman and 2020 NWCA First Team All-American Shane Griffith won his match. It is still uncertain if Griffith will compete in Sunday’s matches, as he is recovering from a minor injury.

“Shane is TBD and will be a match time decision…we are being cautious with his return,” said head coach Jason Borrelli in a text to The Daily.

In better news for the Cardinal, three of the 10 who wrestled for South Dakota last year were seniors, and the relative inexperience of the Jackrabbits in this year’s lineup may help Stanford this time around.

After Little Rock and South Dakota State, Stanford will take on the University of Oklahoma in what will be the teams’ first head-to-head matchup in 12 years. The Sooners will likely be another tough opponent, as just last Sunday they put up a hard fight against Iowa State — which finished second in the Big 12 last season. Although Oklahoma lost to the Cyclones, it was by a mere two points. 

As the last match of the day for Stanford, wrestlers will also have to fight fatigue as they compete.

Borrelli has faith in his athletes, however, saying, “Our guys have shown great resilience.” 

The Cardinal will start with Little Rock at 8:00 a.m. PT, wrestle South Dakota State at 10:00 a.m. PT and conclude the day against OU starting at 12:00 p.m. PT.

Contact Samantha Leventis at  samantha040602 ‘at’ gmail.com.

Samantha Leventis is a staff writer for the Stanford Daily sports section, who is a sophomore majoring in Symbolic Systems. Originally from Washington, D.C., Leventis is a supporter of the Washington Spirit and an even bigger fan of the Stanford women’s soccer team. You can find her soaking up the sun or attempting to surf as a newfound hobby. Contact her at sleventis ‘at’ stanforddaily.com

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