Cal Poly's four senior wrestlers, including Ryan DesRoches (above), won their final home matches against Arizona State. Nha Ha / Mustang Daily
Cal Poly's four senior wrestlers, including Ryan DesRoches (above), won their final home matches against Arizona State. Nha Ha / Mustang Daily
Dominating victories by seniors Ryan Smith and Boris Novachkov weren’t enough for the Mustangs on Sunday afternoon. Ryan DesRoches lost his first match, and Cal Poly fell to Stanford. A major decision in the final bout downed the Cal Poly wrestling team 23-17 against the No. 22 Cardinal (6-5, 3-0 Pac-12) in a Pac-12 dual meet inside Mott Gym.
The team didn’t execute in key spots throughout the afternoon as No. 18 Cal Poly (4-3, 2-2 Pac-12) trailed from the get-go, according to Smith.
“It’s disappointing to see the things we work on day in and day out at practice with the coaches, and then you see it in the match, and guys look like they’ve never been put in the position before,” Smith said. “Up and down the lineup, there were tons of matches that we lost that we shouldn’t have lost, or guys just didn’t put their full effort in.”
Down 19-17 with one bout remaining, Cal Poly’s comeback was thwarted by Stanford sophomore Garrett Schaner’s 10-1 major decision (a win by eight or more points) over 157-pound freshman Gianpier Yanez.

The Mustangs put themselves in a position to win the match in come-from-behind fashion following sophomore Kyle Chene’s tight 2-1 victory over Stanford’s Timmy Boone at 149-pounds. Both wrestlers earned escapes through three periods, but it was the recent transfer Chene’s 1:16 of riding time advantage that tilted the match in his favor.

The most anticipated matchup of the afternoon featured undefeated No. 4 Ryan DesRoches pitted against No. 1 Nick Amuchastegui at 174-pounds.

Despite bleeding from his chin throughout the match, Amuchastegui used a takedown in each frame, an escape in the second period and a point from riding time to earn an 8-0 major decision over previously undefeated DesRoches (19-1) and extend the Cardinal lead to 10-0.

“I never really got going,” DesRoches said. “I didn’t really work to control things. I had the wrong mentality: wrestle not to lose, instead of wrestle to win. I just need to pick up the training and just put up a little bit more fight.”

Cal Poly rallied from the deficit as Smith earned a major decision winning 17-5 over sophomore Alan Yen at 197-pounds. Smith used six takedowns, penalty points and an advantage in riding time to cut the Cardinal lead to 10-4.

The senior, who improved to 16-8 on the season, admits he lost his cool late in the match due to Yen’s stall tactics, preventing a possible pin and larger margin of victory for Smith. But the Temecula, Calif., native was satisfied with his performance.

“I wrestled how I wanted to,” Smith said. “I had really been working on keeping a high pace and really making guys have to wrestle at my level. I was getting my takedowns like I wanted to. I was controlling the match, but I got a little frustrated and lost my head a little bit. Overall, I’m pleased with my performance. I went out and dominated my opponent.”

Following Stanford’s forfeit at 125 pounds and Ryan Mango’s pin in one minute and 37 seconds on Cal Poly junior Jake Tanenbaum (7-10) at 133 pounds, Novachkov pounced on Alex Manley in the first period to jump out to an 8-1 advantage courtesy of a double-leg takedown and a pair of near-falls. The 2011 National Championship finalist Novachkov was only able to muster two more points in the final two periods to win the bout 10-1. A No. 4 ranked wrestler, Novachkov improved his record to 21-2 on the year.

The stage was set for Chene to cut the lead to two and allow Yanez an opportunity to erase the deficit altogether and win the match for Cal Poly, but it was Stanford who prevailed with a final bout major decision.

“We really thought we could beat them,” DesRoches said. “I know we’re a better team. We have some young guys in the lineup, but, me included, we need people to step up and be more physical and tougher.”

In the third bout of the afternoon, sophomore Sean Dougherty forced his match into overtime only to concede a reversal to Stanford’s Spence Patrick and drop a 5-4 minor decision.

For first-year head coach Brendan Buckley, his squad came out looking flat and didn’t exhibit the grit necessary to wrestle against a Pac-12 opponent.

“Boris (Novachkov), Ryan DesRoches and Ryan Smith can only carry us so far,” Buckley said. “We got to have some of these other guys step up. There were a couple of bouts there that we definitely should have won. We can’t afford to have a lot of these performances. We just didn’t show a lot of mental toughness today.”

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