Five Stanford Wrestlers to Compete at NCAA Tournament

March 8, 2004

Stanford, Calif. - Stanford will be taking five wrestlers to the upcoming NCAA Wrestling Championships to be held in St. Louis, Missouri from March 18 - 20. The Cardinal will be taking Tanner Gardner (125), Paul Gross (133), Brad Metzler (141), Matt Gentry (157), and Imad Kharbush (174) to the tournament. Last year, only Matt Gentry was selected to compete at the NCAA tournament.

The top three place-finishers at the Pac-10 tournament, held in Tempe, Arizona on February 29 and March 1, receive automatic bids to the NCAA tournament. Matt Gentry and Imad Kharbush won first place and Brad Metzler took home second to receive their NCAA bids. In addition, the Pac-10 sends 11 wildcard entries to the tournament. Tanner Gardner and Paul Gross received NCAA bids through the wildcard selection.

Matt Gentry has a legitimate shot at taking home the national title and looks to improve on his finish at the NCAA's last year. In 2003 he went 4-2 and was an All-America Honorable Mention. This year, Gentry has vaulted into the national spotlight with an undefeated season and a number two ranking in the nation. He has a 37-0 record with six falls and is Pac-10 champion at 157 pounds. Gentry was invited to the prestigious NWCA All-Star Classic in February and beat Jake Percival of Ohio, then ranked third in the nation. In addition, he has won tournament titles at the Central Missouri Open (11/16/2003), the California Open (11/22/2003), and the Aggie Open (1/17/2004), and also took third place at the Midlands (12/20/2003). Gentry led the Cardinal to a 10-4 record this season in dual meets, their second most wins ever.

Imad Kharbush and Brad Metzler, two other place finishers at the Pac-10's, will accompany Gentry to St. Louis. Kharbush, ranked 17th nationally, took the Pac-10 title at 174 pounds and had a 32-8 record with six falls. He has taken second place at the California Open (11/22/2003) and the All-Cal Invitational (1/31/2004) and also took third place at the Aggie Open (1/17/2004). Kharbush is a great upper-body wrestler and looks to make an impression at his first NCAA appearance as only a sophomore. Metzler, ranked 20th in the country, posted a 28-4 record with six falls this season. After taking home second place in the Pac-10 tournament, Metzler qualified for his first NCAA appearance. He has taken first place at the California Open (11/22/2003), the Aggie Open (1/17/2004), and took second place at the Central Missouri Open (11/16/2004).

Stanford's two wildcard entries in the NCAA tournament are senior Paul Gross and freshman Tanner Gardner. Gross has a 14-8 record this season with four pins. He took third place at the Aggie Open (1/17/2004) and placed fourth at the Pac-10 tournament. In the 2000-2001 season, Gross led the team in pins. Gardner, Stanford's star true freshman, surprised everyone by wrestling to a 23-15 record with four pins this season. Gardner took first place at the Aggie Open (1/17/2004), second place at the All-Cal Invitational (1/31/2004), and finished fifth at the Pac-10 tournament.

The Stanford Cardinal hopes for a strong showing at the NCAA tournament with five wrestlers competing. If you would like to buy tickets for the tournament, contact Coach Steve Buddie by e-mail at buddie@stanford.edu.

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