Wrestlers squeeze win from Stanford

Pierre Bondoc getting the upper hand against Matt Sencebaugh, taking the first SFSU victory of the day and clearing the way for the Gator's 18-16 victory against Stanford on Jan. 30. Henry Ngyen | staff photographer

For the first time in nearly a decade, SF State men’s wrestling team can finally say that they beat Stanford University.

“It was awesome,” said graduating senior Pierre Bondoc. “We haven’t beaten them in the years that I have been wrestling here, although we’ve wrestled them tough before.”

The much anticipated match-up favored the Gators with an 18-16 win over the Division 1 Cardinals at Stanford’s Burnham Pavilion this past Sunday.

However, the Gators’ win did not come easily.

The Gators lost their first three bouts in the 184 and 197-pound and heavyweight divisions, giving the Cardinals a 10-0 lead.

Bondoc’s 5-3 decision over the Cardinals’ Matt Sencenbaugh in the 125-pound division sparked some much needed life in the Gators who followed with two more wins by seniors Brian Tharp (133) and Naveed Bagheri (141), pushing the Gators to a 12-10 lead.

“It was a very back and forth meet,” assistant wrestling coach Mauricio Wright said.

The Cardinals went on to win two more bouts by decision forcing a 16-12 lead over the Gators. With only minutes left in the meet, sophomore Isaiah Jimenez (165) was able to pull off a 4-3 decision over the Cardinals’ Garret Schaner, only to intensify the final bout between senior Gene Choi (174) and Stanford’s Kyler Hasson.

Within the last few seconds of the third and final period, Choi won a 4-0 decision, giving the Gators a victory that the team had yet to experience.

“It felt great,” Choi said. “I received a lot of acknowledgement from friends.”

In years past, the Stanford Meet has always been scheduled earlier in the season; this time around, the meet came somewhat later than usual. However, assistant coach Wright was confident that the team would be perfectly matched against Stanford as they had more time to train and condition.

The Gators’ win on Sunday is their fourth win this season. They will host California Baptist University this Friday at 1p.m., and host the California Collegiate Invitational on Saturday.

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