The Stanford wrestling team crowned four individual champions, the most in school history, on its way to a second-place finish with 134 points at the 2014 Pac-12 Wrestling Championships on Sunday at Maples Pavilion. Five Cardinal wrestlers earned automatic berths to the NCAA Championships, tying for the most in school history.
Senior 197-pounder Dan Scherer knocked-off ninth-ranked Taylor Meeks of Oregon State in the finals, 4-2 in sudden victory, and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler. It is the first conference championship for the St. Louis, Mo., native, who is 20-4 on the year.
"With it tied up going into overtime, I felt I was dictating the match the whole time," said Scherer. "I could feel him breaking down and getting tired towards the end there. Meeks is really good with his hips, so you've got to pick your shots and get in clean when you can."
Redshirt senior Ryan Mango, ranked No. 9 at 133 pounds, became Stanford's fifth two-time conference champion, defeating 17th-ranked Devon Lotito of Cal Poly 5-2. A two-time All-American, Mango also won a Pac-12 Championship at 125 pounds in 2012 as he moves to 27-3 on the year. He joins Jeff Bradley (1985, 1986), Dave Lee (1985, 1986), Tanner Gardner (2007, 2008) and Nick Amuchastegui (2010, 2012) as repeat champions.
Sophomore Evan Silver became Stanford's 16th conference champion with an 8-6 decision over Rami Haddidian of Boise State at 125 pounds. The Chevy Chase, Md., native, who finished as the Pac-12 runner-up as a redshirt freshman in 2013, improves to 23-4 on the season.
Redshirt freshman Jim Wilson secured the 165-pound title with a convincing 5-1 decision over Arizona State's Nick Rex. Wilson becomes the first Cardinal freshman to win a conference championship since Jimmy Aguirre in 1993. Wilson registered a major decision over Cal Poly's Travis Berridge in the first round and a 12-4 major decision against Oregon State's Toney Chay in the semifinals to move to 33-6 on the year. His 33 wins are the third-most by a freshman in school history.
"It is just an absolute thrill to win a championship," said Wilson. "Thinking about all the work that we put in during the season, running at 5:30 in the morning, all of our training, and all of our drilling. In the end it paid off."
Senior Kyle Meyer finished third at 174 pounds, and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Meyer defeated Boise State's Austin Dewey, 9-4, in the third-place bout. He is having his most successful season with the Cardinal, moving to 26-11 overall.
Redshirt freshman heavyweight Josh Marchok also finished in the top half of his bracket. The Schaumburg, Ill., native pinned Cal Poly's Spencer Empey in 1:30 to place third in the conference. It marked his fifth fall of the season.
Oregon State won the team title with 155.5 points, crowning three champions while three other Beavers has runner-up finishes.
Stanford's second-place finish is the highest under sixth-year head coach Jason Borrelli, and ties for the best in school history. It is just the third time the Cardinal has finished as the runner-up and the first since 2008.
Mango has now qualified for the NCAA Championships for the fourth time in his career. Scherer and Silver are both two-time NCAA qualifiers, while Meyer and Wilson will make their first appearances.
Stanford will head to the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., March 20-22 to close out its 2013-14 season.