Pac-10 Runner-Up! Stanford Records Highest Pac-10 Finish In School History
March 3, 2008
Eugene, Ore. - In a season already marked by impressive milestones, the 2007-08 Stanford wrestling team rallied today to hit its biggest one yet. The Cardinal won a tight race at the 2008 Pac-10 Championships, taking second place to record the highest Pac-10 finish in school history.
The Cardinal entered the day in sixth, but won five consolation semifinal matches this afternoon to get its day two rally started. In the nightcap, senior Josh Zupancic and junior Luke Feist earned crucial bonus points in third place matches, and senior Tanner Gardner captured his second consecutive Pac-10 title. The three performances helped carry Stanford to its first-ever Pac-10 runner-up finish, with 106.5 team points. Gardner, Stanford's new all-time win leader, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler, after pinning two opponents and defeating a top-20 wrestler in the championship bout.
Gardner started the evening session with a win in the 125-pound championship. With the decision, the two-time All-American became the first Cardinal wrestler in more than two decades to win back-to-back titles. Wrestling Arizona State's Anthony Robles, the nation's 17th-ranked 125-pounder, Gardner battled back from a deficit and earned a 7-5 decision. After a scoreless first period, Gardner was taken down and turned to fall behind 4-1. Within seconds, however, Gardner reversed Robles and put him on his back for a three-point nearfall, earning what proved to be the decisive points in the match. Gardner will compete at the NCAA Championships, Mar. 20-22, looking to become Stanford's first three-time All-American and second NCAA Champion.
At 149 pounds, redshirt freshman Lucas Espericueta fell to Oregon State's Kyle Larson in the third place bout, 8-3. Espericueta upset third-seeded Larson in the opening round of the tournament, but was unable to repeat the upset. Espericueta finished fourth and will hope to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.
At 157 pounds, Zupancic won a decisive third-place match to secure his second straight trip to the NCAA Championships. The Cardinal All-American demolished unseeded Tim Patrick of Oregon State, earning a key bonus point with a 14-3 major decision.
At 165 pounds, true freshman Kyle Barrett was defeated by No. 4 Daniel Atondo of Cal State Bakersfield for third place. The unseeded Cardinal freshman, who had wrestled in just eight collegiate matches prior to the championship, posted a Cinderella run during the tournament, defeating three seeded opponents on his way to a fourth place finish.
Feist battled back with a vengeance in the 174-pound bout. In a rematch with his first round opponent, Todd Noel of Cal State Fullerton, the Stanford junior got revenge, earning a critical team bonus point with an 8-0 major decision. Feist will head back to the NCAA Championships for the second straight year, looking to earn his first career All-America honor.
At 184 pounds, Zack Giesen was caught on his back by tenth-ranked Ian Murphy of Cal State Fullerton, and lost by fall for just the third time this season. Giesen was pinned in 58 seconds, and hopes to return to the NCAA Championships as a wild card selection.
The NCAA Championships will be held at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mar. 20-22. Gardner, Zupancic and Feist have guaranteed themselves spots, while the three Cardinal fourth-place finishers will hope to earn one of the Pac-10s eight wild card bids.
Stanford's highest Pac-10 finish prior to tonight was third place in 1985 and 1986. The Cardinal's only other second place finish came more than 40 years ago (1965), when the squad was part of the Athletic Association of Western Universities.
Boise State captured the team title with 152.5 points, and Stanford edged defending conference champion Oregon State for second place, 106.5 to 106. Arizona State took fourth with 103 points, and Cal State Fullerton rounded out the top five with 101.5 points.
2008 Pac-10 Championships
Tanner Gardner (3-0, 1st place): pinned Andre Gonzalez (CS Fullerton), 1:52; pinned Marcos Orozco (UC Davis), 4:03; dec. Anthony Robles (Arizona State), 7-5.
Porfirio Madrigal (1-2, 7th place): lost to No. 14 TJ Dillashaw (CS Fullerton), 6-0; maj. dec. Clifton Ivanoff (Oregon State), 9-1; lost to Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly), 4-1; win by default Todd Schavrien (Arizona State).
Max Rosefigura (0-2): lost to Chris Drouin (Arizona State), 8-4; lost to Heinrich Barnes (Oregon State), 8-6.
Lucas Espericueta (2-2, 4th place): dec. Kyle Larson (Oregon State), 9-5; lost to No. 12 Adam Hall (Boise State), 9-6; dec. Jeremy Doyle (CS Bakersfield), 10-8; lost to Kyle Larson (Oregon State), 8-3.
Josh Zupancic (3-1, 3rd place): pinned Steven Dailey (Portland State), 0:22; lost to No. 10 Tyler Sherfey (Boise State), 3-2; maj. dec. Trevor Hall (CS Bakersfield), 15-6; maj. dec. Tim Patrick (Oregon State), 14-3.
Kyle Barrett (3-2, 4th place): lost maj. dec. to Daniel Atondo (CS Bakersfield), 10-1; dec. Ryan Williams (Cal Poly), 4-2; dec. Teddy Bristol (CS Fullerton), 10-6; dec. Zack Frazier (Oregon), 11-7; lost to Daniel Atondo (CS Bakersfield), 8-1.
Luke Feist (3-1, 3rd place): lost to Todd Noel (CS Fullerton), 6-4; dec. Ron Lee (Oregon), 8-5; pinned Dale Seley (Portland State), 4:15; maj. dec. Todd Noel (CS Fullerton), 8-0.
Zack Giesen (2-2, 4th place): maj. dec. Ben Harris (Oregon State), 10-1; lost to No. 8 Kirk Smith (Boise State), 3-1 (3OT); dec. Ernie Varela (Cal Poly), 7-3; fall to No. 10 Ian Murphy (CS Fullerton), 0:58.
Jake Johnson (1-3, 6th place): lost maj. dec. to Kyle Bressler (Oregon State), 16-5; dec. Rockland Schneider (Portland State), 7-3; lost to Matt Casperson (Boise State), 7-3; lost to John Drake (Cal State Fullerton), 8-3.
Phillip Doerner (0-3, 8th place): lost maj. dec. to Nick Smith (Boise State), 15-2; lost to Quinton Pruett (Arizona State), 6-3; lost to Jim Powers (Cal Poly), 10-3.
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