An All-American Pair: Gardner And Zupancic Secure Top-Eight Finishes At NCAAs
March 21, 2008
St. Louis, Mo. - In tonight's evening session at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St. Louis, senior Tanner Gardner secured his third-straight All-America honor with an exciting overtime victory over Arizona State's 14th-ranked Anthony Robles. With the win, Gardner, already Stanford's all-time win leader, became the first three-time All-American in school history.
Gardner and teammate Josh Zupancic, who secured his second consecutive All-America honor this morning, repeated their dual All-America effort from last season. This year marks just the third time in program history, and the second time in two years, that Stanford has produced two All-Americans in the same season. Prior to last year, Stanford's only pair to record All-America honors in the same year was Len Borchers and Terry Crenshaw in 1967.
Gardner started off the fourth session with a bang, beating Robles in a thrilling rematch of the 2008 Pac-10 Championship bout. After a scoreless first period, Gardner recorded an escape and a takedown to take a 3-0 lead. Robles reversed Gardner, however, then escaped in the third period to tie the match. In sudden victory overtime, Gardner recorded the winning takedown, securing his third consecutive All-America honor.
Gardner (42-2), who is already the winningest wrestler in school history and the only wrestler to record more than one 40-win season, is now also the only three-time All-American in school history.
In Gardner's second match of the fourth session, he ensured that his senior campaign would be capped by the best finish of his career. Gardner scored a takedown in the first period, and a reversal in the third to top eighth-seeded Brandon Precin of Northwestern, 5-0. Gardner will meet defending national champion Paul Donahoe of Nebraska in the consolation semifinals tomorrow, and can finish no worse than sixth in the tournament.
Senior Josh Zupancic's impressive run through the championship bracket finally ended in the 157-pound semifinal match tonight, where he was defeated by Cornell's Jordan Leen, 9-2, in a nationally televised bout. Zupancic (39-7) drops to the consolation semifinals, where he will face fourth-seeded Brandon Becker of Indiana.
Consolation semifinal matches begin at 10 a.m. (CT) at the Scottrade Center tomorrow morning.
2007 NCAA Championships
St. Louis, Mo.
Tanner Gardner (4-1): dec. No. 12 Steve Mytych (Drexel), 3-0; tech. fall Anthony Mustari (Northern Colorado), 16-0; lost to No. 5 Charlie Falck (Iowa), 5-4; dec. No. 14 Anthony Robles (Arizona State), 5-3 (SV); dec. No. 8 Brandon Precin (Northwestern), 5-0.
Lucas Espericueta (0-2): fall to Edward McCray (Gardner-Webb), 1:19; lost to No. 14 Cesar Grajales (Penn), 7-5.
Josh Zupancic (3-1): maj. dec. No. 16 Jeff Marsh (Michigan), 13-4; dec. No. 5 C.P. Schlatter (Minnesota), 5-4; dec. Jonny Bonilla-Bowman (Hofstra), 9-8; lost to No. 8 Jordan Leen (Cornell), 5-2.
Luke Feist (1-2): maj. dec. Alex Caruso (Lehigh), 9-0; lost to No. 2 Steve Luke (Michigan), 5-2; fall to Alex Dolly (Northern Iowa), 6:08.
Zack Giesen (2-2): pinned Chris Daggett (Liberty), 6:27; fall to No. 1 Jake Varner (Iowa State), 2:06; dec. No. 19 Christopher Honeycutt (Edinboro), 5-3; fall to No. 18 Kurt Brenner (West Virginia), 5:53.