Cardinal Readies For Another Full Day Of Wrestling On The Farm

Jan. 27, 2009

THIS WEEK: The Stanford wrestling team (4-11-1, 0-3 Pac-10) returns to the mat in Burnham Pavilion on Friday, hosting Oregon State, Portland State and Princeton in another full day of wrestling action. The first dual of the day, which features Oregon State and Princeton, begins at 11 a.m. Four more duals follow, with Stanford taking on Pac-10 rival Oregon State at 12:30 p.m., Portland State at 5 p.m. and Princeton at 7 p.m. Portland State and Princeton will wrestle each other at 3 p.m.

ABOUT OREGON STATE: The Beavers (6-6, 3-1 Pac-10) finished third in the conference last season, as the 2007 Pac-10 Champions were edged out for second place by Stanford, 106.5 to 106.0. Two Oregon State wrestlers come into this week's dual ranked, with senior Kyle Bressler listed 12th at 174 pounds and senior Heinrich Barnes listed 16th at 149 pounds. Bressler, a two-time NCAA qualifier, is the defending Pac-10 Champion at 197 pounds and took third at 184 pounds the year before. Barnes, who ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with 24 wins, is among six returning conference placers for the Beavers. Stanford lost to Oregon State in last year's dual in Corvallis, 24-15.

ABOUT PORTLAND STATE: The Vikings (4-7, 0-5 Pac-10) finished last in the Pac-10 last season and had just three wrestlers finish in the top eight at the conference championships. The only returner in that trio is junior Steven Dailey, the eighth-place finisher at 157 pounds. So far, senior Bryan Cantrell, a transfer from the University of Oregon, is the team's win leader (17 victories at 165 pounds). Stanford beat Portland State, 38-3, at home last season.

ABOUT PRINCETON: The Tigers (2-8) are led by a pair of sophomores, 125-pounder Tony Comunale and 174-pounder Travis Erdman. Last season, Comunale finished sixth at the EIWA Championships, marking the first Princeton placewinner at the conference championships in three years. Erdman earned All-Ivy Honorable Mention at 174 pounds in his rookie year. Freshman Kurt Brendel currently leads the team with 10 wins at 184 pounds. Stanford topped Princeton on the Tigers' home mat last season, 32-10.

A FEW EXTRA MATCHES: A number of Stanford wrestlers will be competing at the California Collegiates in San Francisco on Saturday. The event, hosted at the San Francisco State Main Gym, begins at 9 a.m. and runs all day.

LOOKING AHEAD: Stanford wrestles two more Pac-10 duals next week, meeting Arizona State at home on Friday before traveling to Boise State for a Sunday afternoon dual. Stanford wraps up the regular season against Cal Poly on Feb. 14 at Burnham Pavilion.

SO FAR THIS SEASON: Facing a number of early injuries in its upper weights, Stanford has wrestled short-handed in many of its duals and gone 4-11-1. The Cardinal is now back to a full lineup, however, and topped its first Division I opponent earlier this month (beat Air Force, 32-7). The Cardinal lost its most recent dual to Northern Colorado on Jan. 17, 25-7.

PINS A PLENTY...: Stanford's only senior, Luke Feist, stands in sole possession of sixth place on the school's career top-10 list with 23 pins in his four years. Currently the Pac-10's co-pin leader, Feist is just one pin short of fifth place on the school's career chart (Chris Horpel `75 holds the school record with 56). He has secured nine of his 15 wins by fall this season, enough to put him among the school's top-10 single-season leaders (Tanner Gardner `08 holds the single-season record with 19 pins in 2007-08).

...AND WINS TOO: Luke Feist added two more wins to his career tally on the team's road trip to Colorado, bringing his impressive total to 74. The senior is currently 10th on the school's all-time win chart, five short of ninth-place Imad Kharbush (2001-05).

FAB FROSH: Redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui is now one of the winningest rookies in school history. With a win over Air Force's Stephen Crozier on Jan. 16, Amuchastegui became just the 11th Stanford freshman to record a 20-win season. Now 21-4 on the year, Amuchastegui is on pace to rapidly move up the chart. Only two Stanford freshmen, Matt Gentry (2002) and Dave Lee (1985) have ever reached 30 wins as newcomers. With 57 dual points (23 more than his closest teammate), Amuchastegui has quickly established himself as the most consistent wrestler in the Cardinal lineup.

NIFTY FIFTY: Junior Jake Johnson picked up his 50th career win at the Reno Tournament on Dec. 18, using a technical fall in his first match to reach the milestone. Johnson joins teammates Luke Feist and Zack Giesen as the only current Stanford wrestlers in the 50-win club. Sophomore Lucas Espericueta is just four wins short of joining them.

20 AND BEYOND: During the team's last road trip, redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui became the third Stanford wrestler to secure a 20-win season. Sophomore 157-pounder Lucas Espericueta reached the milestone on Jan. 10, and junior 184-pounder Jake Johnson hit it on Jan. 3. Last season, five Stanford wrestlers, including Johnson and Espericueta, reached the 20-win plateau. Junior Zack Giesen (2006-07 and 2007-08) and senior Luke Feist (2006-07) are the only other current Cardinal wrestlers who have posted more than 20 wins in a single year. Feist needs five more wins to do so again this season.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Stanford wrestlers have faced some of the nation's top competition this year, taking on 35 ranked opponents so far. To date, the Cardinal has pulled four upsets in those matches, with big wins coming from Luke Feist, Jake Johnson and Nick Amuchastegui.

TOURNEY TITLES: Two Stanford wrestlers claimed tournament titles in November. On Nov. 15, redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui upended a three-time NCAA qualifier who was ranked 11th nationally to win the 165-pound crown at the Cowboy Open. On Nov. 23, junior Zack Giesen pinned three straight opponents to take the 184-pound title at the Fullerton Open.

STANFORD WATCH LIST: Redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui headlines the Stanford wrestlers to watch this week, as the Talent, Ore. native is riding a career-long eight-match win streak. Amuchastegui got his first career win over a ranked opponent on Nov. 15, boasts a 21-4 record and has tallied a team-high 57 dual points. Jake Johnson (23-13) leads the team in both wins and major decisions (9), while sophomore 133-pounder Porfirio Madrigal has won all but two of his dual matches so far. Luke Feist has picked up a pin in all but one week of the season, and paces the Pac-10 with nine pins on the year.

PAC-10 RANKINGS: In the most recent Pac-10 individual rankings (Jan. 21), five Stanford wrestlers were listed in the top half of their weight class. Junior Jake Johnson was the highest ranked Cardinal wrestler, coming in second at 184 pounds, while redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui (165 pounds) and sophomore Lucas Espericueta (157 pounds) both stood third in their respective weight classes. Senior Luke Feist (197 pounds) and sophomore Porfirio Madrigal (133 pounds) were also listed in the top five.

TOP NOTCH RETURNERS: Stanford's 17 returners are highlighted by a trio that qualified for last year's NCAA Tournament. Junior Zack Giesen and senior Luke Feist have both competed at the last two NCAA Championships, and have more than 50 career wins apiece. Lucas Espericueta had one of the best freshman seasons in school history last year, winning 25 matches and qualifying for the NCAA Championships at 149 pounds.

A NEW LOOK: Stanford is under the guidance of a new head coach this season - former Cardinal assistant Jason Borrelli. Borrelli, a 2006 graduate of Central Michigan, was an integral part of the staff that led Stanford to one of its most successful seasons in school history last year. Working with the lower weights, Borrelli helped the Cardinal win 13 duals, post its highest Pac-10 finish in school history, its second-highest national finish and send a program-best five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships.

FRESH FACES: Stanford has seven newcomers on its roster this year, and three of those rookies have already been part of the starting lineup. Matt Sencenbaugh (Auburn, Wash.), Victor Haug (Emigrant, Mont.) and Timmy Boone (Poway, Calif.) are already playing a vital role for the Cardinal in their first collegiate seasons.

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