Sports

Stanford's Traxler earns top weekly wrestling honor

 
Nathan Traxler is the current Pac-12 Wrestler of the Week. Photo courtesy of Stanford Athletics.

Stanford redshirt sophomore Nathan Traxler earned Pac-12 Wrestler of the Week honors it was announced Wednesday.

Traxler posted a 4-1 record at the Southern Scuffle, finishing as the runner-up at 197 pounds. The St. Charles, Illinois, native registered a pair of technical falls to open the tournament. He earned a 9-7 decision over 11th-ranked Dakota Geer of Oklahoma State in the semifinals before falling to top-ranked Bo Nickal of Penn State in the finals.


Amita Gondi/Stanford Athletics
Ranked eighth nationally, Traxler is now 17-4 this season and his runner-up finish at the Southern Scuffle was the highest by a Cardinal since Joey McKenna in 2016, who also finished second. As a team, Stanford turned in a program-best fourth-place finish in Chattanooga.

This marks the first career weekly honor for Traxler, and the fifth for the Cardinal since the award began in 2016.

Stanford returns to The Farm this week, hosting Utah Valley and Harvard on Saturday in Burnham Pavilion beginning at noon.

Women's basketball

Stanford senior forward Alanna Smith was named to the John R. Wooden Award Women's Midseason Top 25 as announced by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

The list is comprised of student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport's most prestigious honor, based on their performances during the first half of the 2018-19 season. The Wooden Award All American Team, consisting of the nation's top five players, will be announced the week of the Final Four.

Smith appears on several preseason watch lists in addition to the Wooden Award, including the Naismith Trophy, Wade Trophy, Katrina McClain Award and Senior CLASS Award, and has backed up that recognition with her play thus far.

The espnW, USBWA and Pac-12 Player of the Week from Dec. 17, Smith is shooting 54.5 percent from the field (91-of-167), 47.9 percent from behind the arc (34-of-71) and averaging a team-high 19.3 points per game to go with 7.2 rebounds. She is the only player in the nation shooting better than 54 percent from the floor and 47 percent from deep.

Smith, who has double-doubles in three of her last four games, is also one of two players in the country averaging 19.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.2 blocks per game this season (Bella Alarie, Princeton). She is third in the conference and 45th in the country in field goal percentage, second in the Pac-12 and 12th in the country in 3-point percentage, sixth in the league and 34th nationally in scoring and first in the conference and 30th in the country in blocks per game.

The 6-foot-4 Smith is 29th in school history in scoring (1,255) and fifth in blocks (175) and has made 108 career 3-pointers, more than any other player her height since 2015-16. With her 47.9 percent clip from behind the arc, the Australian has put herself in some elite company. Elena Delle Donne is the only NCAA player 6-foot-4 and taller over the past 20 years to shoot better than 40 percent from 3-point range for an entire season when she made 41.3 percent as a freshman at Delaware in 2009-10.

Smith and the No. 6 Cardinal begin their conference road schedule at No. 19 Arizona State (11-3, 2-1) on Friday at 6 p.m.

Squash

No. 5 Stanford cruised past No. 14 George Washington 9-0 in its home opener on Wednesday evening.

Playing the first of two home duals, the Cardinal (3-2) swept eight of the nine matches while dropping just one set overall.

At the No. 7 spot, Amita Gondi prevailed 11-5, 11-6, 11-4, improving to 5-0 on the season as Stanford's lone unbeaten player.

The Cardinal next travels to Cambridge, Massachusetts, this weekend for a four-match road swing. Stanford will be tested with matches against No. 1 Harvard and No. 2 Trinity, in addition to facing No. 7 Columbia and No. 12 Cornell.

Baseball

Junior right-handed pitcher Jack Little was named a preseason first-team All-America by Perfect Game, as announced Tuesday.

Little (management science and engineering) tied a program record with 16 saves as a sophomore in 2018, finishing 3-0 with a 0.60 earned-run average, a .167 batting average against and 58 strikeouts against eight walks in 45.1 innings out of the bullpen. The Las Vegas native earned first-team All-America honors from D1 Baseball, Baseball America, Perfect Game, NCBWA and ABCA, and was a finalist for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year award. He was also named preseason All-America by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper in December.

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