Gardner Secures NCAA Bid and Will Challenge for Pac-10 Title on Monday Night

Feb. 26, 2006

Stanford, Calif. - Sophomore Tanner Gardner led the way for the Cardinal tonight, upsetting top-seeded and sixth-ranked Jeremy Mendoza of Arizona State, 6-2, to secure an NCAA bid and a spot in tomorrow night's finals. Sophomore Scott Loescher, senior Ray Blake and redshirt freshman Luke Feist will all continue in the wrestleback brackets tomorrow in the consolation semifinals.

Gardner, who redshirted last season, finished fifth at the 2004 Pac-10 Championships as a true freshman and was awarded a bid to Nationals. Gardner will face Cal Poly's Chad Mendes as both wrestlers seek their first conference title.

At 157 pounds, Loescher fell to top-seeded Ben Cherrington of Boise State in the championship semifinals. He will face Cal Poly's Ryan Williams (seeded sixth) for a spot in the third-place match tomorrow morning.

At 165 pounds, Blake and Arizona State's Pat Pitsch met for the second time in two weeks. In Tempe, Blake scored a 4-3 decision, but tonight, Pitsch won a 4-1 decision to knock Blake into the consolation semifinals against top-seeded Joey Bracamonte. Blake and Bracamonte have met twice this year, with each wrestler picking up a win, Bracamonte at the Reno Tournament and Blake in the dual meet.

Feist dropped his first match of the day in the championship bracket, but wrapped up the night with by pinning Boise State's Ben Gilliand. Feist will take on Cal Poly's Nick Hernandez in the consolation semifinals tomorrow morning.

Monday's competition will begin at 11 a.m. with the consolation semifinals, third and fifth-place matches. The championship finals will begin at 6 p.m. tomorrow night. All wrestling will be held in Maples Pavilion.

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