Cardinal Prepares For Arizona State, Trip To Boise

Feb. 3, 2009

THIS WEEK: The Stanford wrestling team (6-12-1, 1-4 Pac-10) has a home dual and a road trip ahead in a busy weekend of Pac-10 competition. The Cardinal, which beat Arizona State for the first time in program history last year, will host the Sun Devils in a conference dual on Friday night at 7 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion. On Sunday, the team will be in Boise, Idaho looking for an upset of defending Pac-10 champion and 11th-ranked Boise State.

ABOUT ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils (5-5, 3-1 Pac-10) finished fourth in the conference last season, and had eight Pac-10 placers. Three of those placers return, including 2008 NCAA qualifiers Anthony Robles and Chris Drouin. Robles, who enters the week ranked No. 11 nationally, was the Pac-10 runner-up at 125 pounds last season and was denied All-America honors when he was defeated in sudden victory overtime by Stanford's Tanner Gardner at the NCAA Championships. Drouin, who is ranked sixth nationally at 141 pounds, also was the Pac-10 runner-up last year (141 pounds) and came within one win of being an All-American.

ABOUT BOISE STATE: The Broncos (13-3, 4-0 Pac-10) dominated at the Pac-10 Championships last year, topping the second-place Cardinal by 46 points to win the Pac-10 title. Boise State is the only ranked team in the Pac-10, coming in at No. 11 nationally in the most recent poll. All 10 Boise State wrestlers placed at the Pac-10 Championships last year, nine qualified for the NCAA Championships and two won Pac-10 titles. Boise State's entire 10-man lineup returns this season and the Broncos have added Brent Chriswell to their arsenal, a transfer from Arizona State who won the 184-pound league championship last year. Broncos who are nationally ranked include 133-pounder Andrew Hochstrasser (No. 4), 149-pounder Jason Chamberlain (No. 17), 157-pounder Adam Hall (No. 6), 165-pounder Tyler Sherfey (No. 17), 174-pounder Nate Lee (No. 13), 184-pounder Kirk Smith (No. 4) and 197-pounder Brent Chriswell (No. 5). Stanford lost to Boise State 21-15 last year.

LOOKING AHEAD: Stanford has just one more regular-season competition after this weekend. The team will wrestle Cal Poly in its final dual of the year on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion. The dual will mark the last at home for Stanford's lone senior, Luke Feist. A three-time Pac-10 placer and two-time NCAA qualifer, Feist has posted a 76-59 record in four years of competition on The Farm.

SO FAR THIS SEASON: Facing a number of injuries in its upper weights, Stanford has been forced to forfeit a weight class in 16 of its 19 duals. Despite often being short-handed, the Cardinal has won six duals, including three of its last five. Last week, Stanford fell to Oregon State, but bounced back to top Portland State and Princeton later in the day.

PINS A PLENTY...: Stanford's only senior, Luke Feist, pinned two more opponents last Friday, building on his notable tally of wins by fall. Feist stands in sole possession of fifth place on the school's career top-10 list with 25 pins in his four years. Currently second in the Pac-10 in the category, Feist is four pins short of fourth place on the school's career chart (Chris Horpel `75 holds the all-time school record with 56). The fifth-year senior has secured 11 of his 17 wins by fall this season, enough to put him among the school's top-10 single-season leaders as well (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 last week, bringing his impressive total to 76. The senior is currently 10th on the school's all-time win chart, three short of ninth-place Imad Kharbush (2001-05).

FAB FROSH: Redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui is one of the winningest rookies in school history, continuing his impressive first-year run at 165 pounds. On Jan. 16, Amuchastegui became just the 11th Stanford freshman to record a 20-win season. Now 24-4 on the year, Amuchastegui is tied with Zach Zimmerer (1997) for fifth place in the program's freshman win chart. Only two Stanford freshmen, Matt Gentry (2002) and Dave Lee (1985) have ever reached 30 wins as newcomers. With 69 dual points (26 more than his closest teammate), Amuchastegui has quickly established himself as the most consistent wrestler in the Cardinal lineup.

ON A STREAK: Nick Amuchastegui, Stanford's 165-pounder, is riding a career-long 11-match win streak. He is undefeated in 2009, having not dropped a match since Dec. 18.

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 one win short of joining them.

20 AND BEYOND: Three Stanford wrestlers - junior Jake Johnson, sophomore Lucas Espericueta and freshman Nick Amuchastegui - have already secured 20-win seasons. Last year, 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 three 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 37 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 the longest winning streak of any team member this year (11 matches). Amuchastegui got his first career win over a ranked opponent on Nov. 15, boasts a 24-4 record and has tallied a team-high 69 dual points. Jake Johnson (26-13) leads the team in both wins and major decisions (9), while sophomore 133-pounder Porfirio Madrigal has won all but three of his dual matches so far. Luke Feist has picked up a pin in all but one week of the season, and paces the team with 11 wins by fall. Johnson, Amuchastegui and sophomore Lucas Espericueta all went undefeated last week.

PAC-10 RANKINGS: In the most recent Pac-10 individual rankings (Jan. 29), 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. Sencenbaugh picked up the first two bonus-point dual wins of his career last week.

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