Stanford Resumes Wrestling Season at Reno Tournament of Champions

Dec. 17, 2007

Stanford, Calif. - The Cardinal wrestling team will be back in action tomorrow, heading to Reno, Nev. to compete at the Reno Tournament of Champions. Senior Tanner Gardner will enter the tournament as the defending champion at 125 pounds, and ten other Cardinal wrestlers will be seeking the first Reno titles of their careers.

Action begins with pigtail rounds at 9 a.m tomorrow morning at the Reno Downtown Convention Center. The finals will begin at 6:30 p.m., with opening ceremonies starting at 6 p.m. First held in 1996, the event includes both a high school and college tournament, and features some of the nation's top teams and wrestlers.

This year, 26 college teams from around the country will participate. The Cardinal will have a chance to face off with four top-25 teams at the event - No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Central Michigan, No. 17 Cornell and No. 21 Navy. Additionally, eight of the ten Pac-10 teams will be in attendance, giving Stanford one last look at its conference competition before the Pac-10 season begins Jan. 18.

Gardner returns to Reno as the defending champion, after winning the 125-pound title last season. The Berryton, Kans. native bested rival Chad Mendes of Cal Poly in the championship bout to claim the 2006 crown. Gardner also placed fifth at the tournament as a sophomore in 2005, and will look to improve on his pristine 17-0 record this year at the event.

Senior Josh Zupancic placed at the Reno Tournament for the first time last year, taking second at 157 pounds. This season, Zupancic is 13-3 and ranked No. 14 in the nation. Fellow senior Phillip Doerner (13-6) will look to place in Reno for the first time this year. The Stanford heavyweight has been having a breakout season, and is just one win short of doubling his career win total in the first two months of the season.

A number of the nation's best individuals are expected to compete. No. 4 Gardner will meet three of his fellow members of the top-20, as will No. 14 Zupancic. Freshman Porfirio Madrigal (133 pounds), junior Luke Feist (174 pounds), freshman Alex Muller (174 pounds), senior Mark Shughart (Heavyweight) and Doerner (Heavyweight) will face the toughest fields, with five ranked wrestlers in each weight class.

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