By Sofia Scekic
Redshirt freshman Shane Griffith continues to garner accolades following his impressive first season wrestling with Stanford. Griffith was named the Amateur Wrestling News Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.
The Westwood, New Jersey, native finished his rookie season undefeated with a 28-0 record and a Pac-12 Championship in the 165-pound weight class in early March. Seeded No. 3 in the NCAA Tournament, Griffith seemed poised for one of the finest individual seasons in Cardinal wrestling history before the championship was canceled due to COVID-19.
Even without a full postseason, he recorded the seventh-most wins by a freshman in Cardinal history. Griffith also won the Battle at the Citadel, the Roadrunner Open and the Southern Scuffle. His 28 consecutive wins represent the second longest streak in school history and the longest to begin a Stanford career.
His performance led to a NWCA First Team All American selection as well as the two top conference honors for an individual wrestler: Pac-12 Wrestler of the Year and Newcomer of the Year. He was also the second finalist for the Hodge Trophy in Cardinal history, an award given annually to the top collegiate wrestler.
Griffith’s fellow redshirt freshman, Real Woods, was named the top wrestler in the 141-pound weight class. Woods was also selected as an NWCA First Team All American and won a Pac-12 Championship at his respective weight class. The duo represents the sixth and seventh Cardinal freshmen to win conference titles and just the second and third freshmen in school history to be named All-American.
“Coming to Stanford with Real, we knew we had an opportunity to do big things and being able to do them together is a surreal feeling,” Griffith said.
In his redshirted first year on the Farm, Griffith finished with a 25-2 record competing unattached at 165 pounds. He won three tournaments — the Princeton Open, Roadrunner Open, and National Collegiate Open — and finished top-five at the Southern Scuffle and the Reno Tournament of Champions.
The Cardinal were agonizingly close to completing their season, but just one week remained before the NCAA suspended all collegiate athletics.
“Devot[ing] six months of training and sacrifice for one goal, and not even [being] able to try and obtain that goal, was hard,” Griffith said. “This circumstance always makes me think, ‘Prepare for the worst, but expect the best.’ There are always going to be bumps in the road, but how you prevail is what truly makes you who you are.”
Next season, Griffith looks to pick up where he left off: Finish another season undefeated, win a national title and help the Cardinal earn a top-five finish as a team at the NCAA championship.
Contact Sofia Scekic at sscekic ‘at’ stanford.edu.