Pac-12/RMAC Wrestling: Season's Greetings from California
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Pac-12/RMAC Wrestling: Season's Greetings from California

The 2016-2017 NCAA wrestling season kicked off with in-state rivalry and cross-conference match-ups.

Pac-12/RMAC Wrestling: Season's Greetings from California
Tony Rotundo/

Chompin’ at the Bit

The San Francisco State Gators started their season off with an immediate trial-by-fire - before their intrasquad meet. Facing D1 rival Cal Poly SLO (a team that they’ve traded dual meets with in recent years, as I elaborated on in Coaching Conundrum Pt. 8) and D1 (Big10) opponent Indiana. Though they dropped comparable duals (36-7, 39-7 losses to SLO and Indiana, respectively), four Gators left the meet with their first wins of the season. Earning his first varsity win was 2014 CA State Champion, CSU Bakersfield transfer and sophomore Matt Gamble at 125lbs, who opened his season with a 9-5 win over David Gonzales of Cal Poly. Against Indiana, he met FloWrestling #15 Elijah Oliver, and fell by way of a 12-4 major. Also getting varsity win experience was 2015 CA State Finalist, Redshirt Freshman Nathan Cervantes earned a win over Cal Poly’s Yoshi Funakoshi in a big way, topping his Mustang opponent 17-9 major decision at 133lbs.

Against Indiana, the Gators earned wins at 141lbs and 197lbs, from grad student transfer Joshua Weinberg and 2015 D2 NCAA Qualifier, senior Johnathan Costa. Weinberg beat Tommy Cash 4-3. Costa topped his B1G opponent via a 10-2 major decision.

Of note, San Francisco was without their nationally-ranked #5 wrestler at 285lbs (Division 2), Sam Alnassiri. Alnassiri qualified for the D2 national tournament last season.

The Gators (0-2, 0-0 RMAC) host their Purple & Gold Scrimmage and attend the U21 JC/College Open next(11/5, 11/6). They run into another B1G/Pac-12 tri-meet on 11/11, against Rutgers University and CSU Bakersfield. (See: Schedule)

Off and Running

(Coaches Mike Hatcher and Jon Sioredas of Cal Poly, background)

Sioredas and staff must be doing something right: the new Mustangs were off to a good start this season, picking up dual-meet wins over San Francisco State and B1G opponent Indiana University in the season-opening tri-meet hosted by Cal Poly on 11/3. As mentioned previously, Cal Poly topped San Francisco State 36-7 to start the day, taking eight of ten matches, before having their dual against Indiana come down to tiebreaker-criteria. After ten matches, the Mustangs and Hoosiers were tied at 18-18. Based on first-tiebreaker, total matches won, Cal Poly earned the dual victory 19-18, six individual matches to four.

Heading into the final two matches, 197lbs and 285, Indiana held a 18-12 lead after returning All-American Nate Jackson scored a fall for the Hoosiers at 184lbs to take the 6pt-lead. The Mustangs rebounded with back-to-back decisions from redshirt senior JT Goodwin and redshirt junior Spencer Empey, match wins that would seal the razor-thin victory for SLO.

Both Goodwin and Empey went 2-0 on the day, in addition to fellow teammates, redshirt-junior Colton Schilling (141) and redshirt-senior Colt Shorts (157). Of note, the Mustangs had a couple different guys at 165, 174, and 184, a hint that those line-up spots are still being decided in the early goings of the season.

(Above photos by Ray Ambler | RA Photos)

Pac-12 Conference Opener: Cal Poly SLO (2-0, 0-0 Pac) vs Stanford (0-0, 0-0 Pac)

Two days after hosting its triangular, Cal Poly traveled to Palo Alto to face Stanford in the first conference match-up of the season. Clearly, Sioredas intended for a tough season for his Cal Poly team. The Cardinal hosted its second-ever outdoor dual.

The FloWrestling #12 team in the nation, Jason Borrelli’s Stanford Cardinal powered through the Mustangs, taking seven matches to three in a 21-9 dual meet victory that saw zero bonus points. Of note, Stanford’s trio of returning Pac-12 Champion/ All-Americans, FloWrestling #4 Connor Schram (125lbs), #2 Joey McKenna (141), and #12 Jim Wilson (174), each picked up wins. Switching weights with Wilson this season is returning NCAA qualifier, CA (SJS) prep Keaton Subjeck, who won his season opener at 165lbs.

(Jim Wilson, center mat, shoots in on Cal Poly's Matt Wilhelm)

Bringing 2-0 records into the dual were Cal Poly’s 197 (JT Goodwin) and 285 (Spencer Empey). They faced off against two of Stanford’s team captains in redshirt-senior Josh Marchok and #10-ranked heavyweight, 2x NCAA qualifier, redshirt-junior Nathan Butler. The Cardinal heavies would win the day over the Mustangs.

A bright spot for the Mustangs, Colt Shorts made it through the weekend with an unscathed 3-0 record, topping CA State Champion Paul Fox of Stanford, 3-2. Thomas Lane (CP) also took out a CA State Champ in Austin Flores (Stanford), 7-2. CA native Yoshito Funakoshi (CP) improves to 2-1 on the season. After losing via major decision to San Francisco State’s Nate Cervantes to start his season, Funakoshi has notched wins over Indiana and, now, Stanford.

Stanford moves to (1-0, 1-0 Pac) while Cal Poly finishes the weekend (2-1, 0-1 Pac).

Next up for Stanford is defending national champions Penn State University in State College on November 13th. (See: Schedule)

Cal Poly gets right back in the mix by hosting another D2/B1G tri-meet, this time against Cal Baptist and a young, surging Northwestern team on November 12th. (See: Schedule)

Runners vs. Lancers

The CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners started their dual-season with a 29-12 victory over Intermat D2 #13, defending RMAC Champions Cal-Baptist University Lancers on 11/5. The dual started off at 174lbs and CBU fielded its trio of ranked wrestlers. The first up was Junior Nolan Kistler, a returning D2 All-American, who earned a 4-2 decision. Following Kistler up was 2015 D1 NCAA Qualifier (for Cal Poly), D2 #5 at 184lbs, redshirt sophomore Nick Fiegener, who earned a 16-3 major decision.

The Roadrunner’s Matt Williams shocked D2 #3 at 197lbs, 2x D2 All-American Jacob Waste 5-3 to get Bakersfield on the scoreboard. CBU’s Paul Head, a returning D2 NCAA Qualifier, earned a 17-0 technical fall over his Runner’s opponent, scoring the last of his team’s 12 team-points in the dual. For the remaining six matches, it was all Roadrunners.

CSU Bakersfield (1-0, 0-0 Pac) hosts its triangular on 11/11 against another D2-RMAC opponent in SF State as well as D1-B1G opponent Rutgers University. (See: Schedule)

Oregon State loses All-American Amarveer Dhesi

According to 49 North Wrestling’s Eric Asselin, Canadian native and Oregon State heavyweight Amarveer Dhesi, the defending Pac-12 champion and the lone returning All-American for OSU, will likely miss the season due to a torn ACL. The hit is substantial for the Beavers’ line-up and scoring potential, as Dhesi was ranked #4 in D1 heading into the season. Hopefully Dhesi has a quick recovery.

Want more wrestling?

The Creation of USAWrestling’s Atlas

Olympic Wrestling: Breakdown of Controversy: Gomez vs Navruzov

2016-2017 Season Foreword: One More Step

Top 10 125lbs NCAA Performances: 1-5 | 6-10

Coaching Conundrum: Part 1: Fresno State / Part 2: Boise State / Part 3: Cal-Poly SLO / Part 4: CSU Bakersfield / Part 5: Stanford / Part 6: Arizona State / Part 7: Oregon State / Part 8
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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