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When it comes to recruiting, Stanford is like no other. The Cardinal’s mojo starts with the unique Bay Area culture that includes the city experience, the mountains, the ocean, and the arts and music scene that surround the school. Plus, the wrestling program recruits some of the brightest wrestlers who support the school traditions and boost them another step closer to bringing the first team title to the West Coast since Arizona State in 1988.
Head coach Jason Borrelli feels the wrestling scene and recruits have changed since he first began due to Stanford’s proximity and academics. When he began a decade ago, the recruits never combined their priority of academics with their love of wrestling.
“I always used to joke when I first started, I had to really get the guys more motivated and excited about the wrestling side. They were doing it but they didn't always choose Stanford just for the wrestling,” Borrelli told FloWrestling.
However, Borrelli’s success during his reign brought new perspectives. He and Stanford are adding six bright-eyed recruits hungry for success.
149-pound Charlie Darracott tops the list as a middleweight threat reigning from Georgia. Darracott’s motivation and energy is apparent to all of his teammates and Borrelli.
“We've had Zoom calls and team meetings already and he's the one that's very talkative and isn't shy and timid,” Borrelli said.
Darracott’s natural-born leadership will boost the middleweight class with a shot of depth. His mat time is a question, though, because Stanford’s middleweights stand as some of the best in the country. Nonetheless, Darracott is on the track for success.
Stanford adds three more to the heavier weights as well. Marshall Kools and Nick Stemmet build up the flexibility in the 184 and 197 class. Elk Grove's Peter Ming will jump into the heavyweight class.
Since Traxler was the lone wolf last season and is heading into his final push, Borrelli realized he needed to back up one of his older stars. Kools and Stemmet are the answers that will ease the load for the veteran.
“They're going to help immensely because the biggest thing last year with Traxler was we didn't have a lot of depth,” the coach said. “He had to wrestle a lot of the season, even weeks where we wanted it to be his so-called off week. This year, I think that they will help provide a lot of relief.”
Kools and Stemmet have the possibility to be more than backups too. The four-star wrestlers combined for a 94-0 record in their senior years and are destined to build on that soon.
Ming, on the other hand, is in contention for more than support. Ming has the heavyweight class calling his name and his style will prove it, according to Borrelli. Although he is in the Pac-12 with Arizona State’s Cohlton Schultz and other top-tier heavyweights, Borrelli knows he can make big moves early.
“Peter is the guy that talks about winning a national title and being All-American, and not just by his junior or senior year in college. He wants to do it early,” Borrelli said.
Stanford lost a few lightweights, too. Yet, the squad will bring in two underrated recruits, 133-pound Jason Miranda and 125-pound Kyle Rowan.
Borrelli’s excitement for Miranda is palpable. He sees potential in Miranda being an immediate threat to other teams.
“Jason has got a great chance to not only wrestle a lot but to be our starter,” Borrelli said. “I was really high on him. As a matter of fact, going into his senior year, I thought he was one of the better kids in the entire state. He’s got great intangibles, his work ethic’s strong, and he comes from a great family and great program.”
Miranda wrestled both 126 and 132 in high school so he can be a versatile weapon for Borrelli.
On the lighter side, Rowan is a one-of-a-kind career 125 pounder. According to Borrelli, Rowan is a quiet grinder like Shane Griffith. He will be Stanford’s silent weapon that leads off one of the best young cores in the country.
Simply put, Borrelli believes the incoming recruits blend well with four national qualifying freshmen.
“Combining most of those freshman and sophomore classes, the future is really bright for us. Our athletes’ goals are to win a national championship as a team,” Borrelli said. “The best part about that is 10 years ago, it seemed like the coaching staff were the only ones talking about winning national titles. Eventually, all of our guys talked about it. It's not just the coaches setting those wheels in motion. It’s an exciting time to be coaching.”
Nick Zeller-Singh is a student at Arizona State studying Sports Journalism. In addition to writing for FloWrestling, he appears on his college radio station, does play-by-play, and covers a variety of sports as a beat writer. Follow him on Twitter.