Stanford eliminated its wrestling program in July, but wrestlers finished out their season. Now one of them, Shane Griffith, just won the national championship.
You may recall that Stanford University announced the elimination of its wrestling program in July (as well as ten other programs: men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, and men’s volleyball). But these teams were allowed to conclude their 2020-21 seasons, and one Stanford wrestler did so in grand fashion. USA Today reports that Stanford wrestler Shane Griffith won the national title Saturday at the NCAA Men’s Wrestling Championships.
As the only Stanford wrestler who made it to the final round, that makes Griffith, theoretically, the last Stanford wrestler ever.
Shane Griffith is a national champion. The redshirt sophomore completed his run at the NCAA championships atop the podium, Saturday, at the Enterprise Center.https://t.co/gLR5Ih3dIF— Stanford Athletics (@GoStanford) March 21, 2021
Granted, there are ten different weight classes in NCAA wrestling, so Griffith is not the only ‘national champion’ from this weekend’s proceedings. But he’s a member of Standord’s last-ever wrestling class, and it’s pretty cool that the program went out on a champion note.
Shane Griffith is the 2021 NCAA wrestling champ. He wrestles for @CardWrestling. His singlet is inside out because @Stanford is dropping the wrestling program. They were told raise money, they’ve raised over 10mill. What more do they need? @KeepStanfordWRE retweet please pic.twitter.com/qoCRa7Zvhi— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) March 21, 2021
Though he’s a redshirt sophomore, he was not wearing red apparel as Stanford athletes normally do. Like all the Stanford wrestlers, Griffith wore a black singlet (wrestling suit) in an act of protest against the school for cutting the program.
Stanford's Shane Griffith has become a national champion after the school made the decision to cut its wrestling program.— ESPN (@espn) March 21, 2021
Griffith and teammates wore black singlets in the NCAA championships in response to the program being dropped.
“I was actually not planning on wrestling this season given our circumstances at Stanford," Griffith told ESPN after the match. “In the middle of the night one night I texted my dad, 'We're not gonna question it. We're gonna rip it. We're gonna win NCAAs this year.' And he said, 'Alright, buddy. I'm going with you.'"
Our newest online store is up and running! Click the link to purchase your @KeepStanfordWRE merch today!— Keep Stanford Wrestling (@KeepStanfordWRE) March 22, 2021
All proceeds go to KSW!#KeepStanfordWrestling | #ForTheFamily pic.twitter.com/GyPbWVNhSH
Griffith is the “last Stanford wrestler ever” only if the program is not reinstated, and there is a private effort to get it reinstated. A loose-knit organization called Keep Stanford Wrestling is soliciting donations (and selling merch), and the Chronicle reports they've raised more than $12 million to try and save the 104-year-old wrestling program.