Tourney Time: Stanford Wrestlers Seek Titles, NCAA Berths At 2009 Pac-10 Championships
Feb. 23, 2009
THIS WEEK: The Stanford wrestling team (8-13-1, 3-5 Pac-10) has completed the 2008-09 regular season and is ready for the year's ultimate showdown - the 2009 Pac-10 Championships. Records are wiped clean as 10 wrestlers from each school compete for Pac-10 titles and berths in next month's NCAA Championships. This year, Cal State Fullerton plays host to the Pac-10 Tournament. Wrestling gets underway on Sunday at 11 a.m. and continues through Monday night at Titan Gym in Fullerton, with finals set for 7 p.m.
THE FIELD: Boise State, the defending Pac-10 Champion, highlights the field with a 17-3 record and a perfect mark against conference opponents. The Broncos are ranked 10th nationally, have nine returning NCAA qualifiers, seven ranked wrestlers and all 10 starters ranked in the top half of the conference. Eighteen conference wrestlers are ranked nationally, with seven belonging to Boise State and three belonging to Cal State Bakersfield. Five defending conference champions will be wrestling, three of which belong to Boise State.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: In addition to competing for team and individual conference titles, wrestlers will be looking to qualify for the 2009 NCAA Championships at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., Mar. 19-21.
FOLLOW THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: For the third year in a row, college wrestling fans across the country will have the opportunity to watch the Pac-10 Wrestling Championships live via online streaming video, free of charge, available exclusively at www.pac-10.org. Tickets to the championships start at $10 for single session general admission and can be purchased by calling the Cal State Fullerton athletic ticket office at (714) 278-CSUF.
REGULAR SEASON RECAP: Facing a number of injuries in its upper weights, Stanford was forced to forfeit a weight class in 19 of its 22 duals. Despite often being short-handed, the Cardinal won eight duals, including four of its final five and three against Pac-10 opponents. In its most recent outing, Stanford beat Pac-10 foe Cal Poly, 21-18.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Stanford's active wrestlers have made a combined 13 appearances at the Pac-10 Championships, and 10 members of the current roster have competed there at least once. Of those 10, six are probables to compete again this week. Senior Luke Feist has placed three times, coming in fifth as a freshman in 2006, fourth as a sophomore in 2007 and third as a junior in 2008. Sophomore Lucas Espericueta (4th), junior Jake Johnson (5th) and sophomore Porfirio Madrigal (7th) all placed in their first appearances at the championships last year. Sophomore Cameron Teitelman and junior Tyler Parker both competed at the 2007 NCAA Championships but did not place. Other members of the roster who have been to the Pac-10 Championships but are not expected to compete this weekend include Zack Giesen (two-time Pac-10 placer, 2nd in 2007, 4th in 2008), Kyle Barrett (4th place, 2008), Max Rosefigura (2008) and Eric Minnick (2006).
STANFORD AT THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: Stanford has competed in NCAA wrestling since at least 1933 and has never won a conference championship. Last year, the Cardinal posted its highest finish since the conference became the Pac-10 in 1980, coming in second at the 2008 championships in Eugene, Ore. Last year's finish matched the program's highest conference placing ever, as Stanford also took second in the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) in 1964-65. Stanford has had 14 Pac-10 individual champions since 1980, including Tanner Gardner, who won the last two titles at 125 pounds.
FOUR-TIMERS: This season, senior Luke Feist will be looking to become Stanford's ninth four-time Pac-10 placer. Others who have accomplished the feat since the inception of the Pac-10 in 1980 include Doug Perkins `83, Jeff Bradley `86, Scott Wiggen `87, Lance Johnson `94, Tod Surmon `96, Zach Zimmerer `00, Matt Gentry `05 and Tanner Gardner `08.
NCAA HOPES: Stanford has sent a program-high five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships three times, including in each of the last two years. In 2004, five wrestlers qualified and Matt Gentry went on to win the 157-pound NCAA title. In 2007 and 2008, five wrestlers made the championships and two, Tanner Gardner and Josh Zupancic, earned All-America honors.
PINS A PLENTY...: Entering the week, Luke 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 19 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 another win to his career tally last week, bringing his impressive total to 78. The senior is currently 10th on the school's all-time win chart, one 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 26-5 on the year, Amuchastegui stands in sole possession of fourth place on the program's freshman win chart. Only two Cardinal freshmen, Matt Gentry (2002) and Dave Lee (1985), have ever reached 30 wins as newcomers. With 75 dual points (23 more than his closest teammate), Amuchastegui has quickly established himself as the most consistent wrestler in the Cardinal lineup.
NIFTY FIFTY: Sophomore Lucas Espericueta joined the 50-win club on Feb. 6, using a technical fall over Arizona State's Te Edwards to secure the milestone victory. Junior Jake Johnson picked up his 50th career win at the Reno Tournament earlier this year and has since increased his career total to 62. Luke Feist (78 wins) and Zack Giesen (60 wins) are the only other current Stanford wrestlers in the 50-win club.
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 just one more win to do so again this season.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Stanford wrestlers have faced some of the nation's top competition this year, taking on 47 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 at the Pac-10 Championships. Despite recently ending the longest winning streak by any team member (12 matches), Amuchastegui carries an impressive 26-5 record, has pinned six opponents, beaten every 165-pounder in the Pac-10 at least once and only dropped one match in 2009. Jake Johnson (28-14) leads the team in both wins and major decisions (9), while Luke Feist has picked up a pin nearly every week of the season. Freshman Matt Sencenbaugh enters the week on the longest current win streak, having won his last four straight bouts at 125 pounds.
PAC-10 RANKINGS: In the most recent Pac-10 individual rankings (Feb. 19), four Stanford wrestlers were listed in the top half of their weight class. Freshman Nick Amuchastegui was the second-ranked 165-pounder, while junior Jake Johnson (184 pounds) was fourth and sophomore Lucas Espericueta (157 pounds) was third. Junior 149-pounder Tyler Parker is currently the conference's fifth-ranked wrestler in his weight class.
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. 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 is on a four-match win streak, and has picked up bonus points in two of his last four matches.
UPDATED WRESTLER PROFILES
125 lbs. Matt Sencenbaugh
Freshman * Auburn, WA * 10-22
2008-09 Season: Stanford's starter at 125 pounds in his rookie season on The Farm ... has posted a 10-22 record so far ... went 5-16 in duals and contributed 18 points to the Cardinal effort ... carries a 3-4 mark against Pac-10 opponents ... has won his last four bouts, including three against Pac-10 opponents, and enters the postseason on a career-long win streak ... has earned bonus points in five matches, including two of his last four ... has tallied two wins by major decision, two technical falls and a pin ... pinned the first opponent of his career at the Menlo Open in October and finished as the runner-up at 133 pounds ... won two matches at the Oklahoma Open, including his first career win by technical fall ... nabbed his first dual win on Jan. 10, picking up a decision over Drexel's Michael Gomez ... picked up his first win in a Pac-10 dual on Jan. 30, earning his second career win by technical fall ... picked up Stanford's only points in a loss at No. 11 Boise State ... has wrestled five ranked opponents ... enters the Pac-10 Championships ranked seventh in the conference.
Career vs. The Probable Pac-10 Field (2-4): lost 13-0 MD to Brandon Zoetewey (CSB) on 11/8/08 ... lost 13-5 MD to Andre Gonzalez (CSF) on 11/21/08 ... lost 9-0 MD to Marcos Orozco (UCD) on 1/10/09 ... lost 14-9 to Jake Gonzales (OSU) on 1/30/09 ... won 20-4 TF over Kevin Martinez (PSU) on 1/30/09 ... best Micah Ferguson (CP) 8-3 in overtime on 2/15/09.
133 lbs. Porfirio Madrigal
Sophomore * Healdsburg, CA * 15-9
2008-09 Season: In his second year as Stanford's starter at 133 pounds ... has posted a 15-9 record this season, including an impressive 11-4 mark in dual matches ... pinned four opponents and earned bonus points in nine matches ... second on the team with five wins by major decision ... four major decisions came in duals ... contributed 43 dual points to the Stanford effort, the fifth highest total on the team ... has gone 3-6 against Pac-10 opponents ... posted two separate four-match winning streaks in November ... pinned his first two opponents of the year at the Menlo Open and finished as the 141-pound runner-up ... won six of his first seven bouts of the season, including three by fall and five with bonus points ... won two bouts at the Cowboy Open in November ... won eight of his first nine matches in duals ... posted major decisions in each of the team's first two duals ... has wrestled three ranked opponents ... enters the Pac-10 Championships ranked seventh in the conference.
Career vs. The Probable Pac-10 Field (1-7): lost 7-4 to Thomas Kimbrell (CSB) on 1/24/08 ... lost 9-0 MD to TJ Dillashaw (CSF) on 2/10/08 ... lost 6-0 to TJ Dillashaw (CSF) on 3/2/08 ... lost 8-2 to Andrew Hochstrasser (BSU) on 11/15/08 ... lost 7-2 to TJ Dillashaw (CSF) on 11/21/08 ... lost 5-1 to TJ Dillashaw (CSF) on 12/18/08 ... lost 5-3 to Kelly Kubec (OSU) on 1/30/09 ... beat Thomas Cottrell (PSU) 7-4 on 1/30/09.
141 lbs. Cameron Teitelman
RS Sophomore * Calabasas, CA * 13-16
2008-09 Season: Stanford's starter at 141 pounds ... has wrestled in 29 bouts and posted a 13-16 record ... won five dual matches to earn 19 team points for the Cardinal ... pinned two opponents and recorded one major decision ... has gone 5-5 against Pac-10 opponents ... pinned his opponent in just 12 seconds in his first match of the year at the Menlo Open and went on to win the 149-pound bracket at the tournament ... also pinned his first opponent at the Oklahoma Open in November ... went 3-2 at the tournament and placed for the second time of the year (4th) ... won nine of his first 13 matches to start the season ... nabbed his first dual win of the year against Menlo on Nov. 26 ... picked up two wins at the Reno Tournament of Champions ... picked up his lone major decision at Air Force, marking his first bonus points of the year in a dual match ... picked up Pac-10 dual wins against Portland State and Cal Poly ... wrestled four ranked opponents during the year ... topped his Cal Poly opponent in the dual's final match to clinch the Stanford win ... enters the Pac-10 Tournament ranked eighth in his weight class.
Career vs. The Probable Pac-10 Field (1-6): lost 20-9 MD to Garrett Drucker (OSU) on 1/28/08 ... lost 11-8 to Elijah Nacita (CSB) on 11/8/08 ... lost 7-3 to Nexi Delgado (UCD) on 1/10/09 ... lost 13-4 MD to Garrett Drucker (OSU) on 1/30/09 ... lost 12-4 MD to Chris Drouin (ASU) on 2/6/09 ... lost 10-1 MD to Cory Fish (BSU) on 2/8/09 ... beat Andy Wagner (CP) 4-0 on 2/15/09.
149 lbs. Tyler Parker
RS Junior * Lawrenceville, GA * 3-2
2008-09 Season: One of four team co-captains ... sat out much of the season due to injury, but returned to the mat on Jan. 16 against Air Force ... wrestled in five duals, including four Pac-10 duals, and went 3-2 ... scored a 15-0 win by technical fall in his first match back from injury ... picked up a key come-from-behind overtime victory against Arizona State's Vincente Varela, helping Stanford beat the Sun Devils for just the second time in school history ... also won in the team's regular-season finale against Cal Poly.
Career vs. The Probable Pac-10 Field (3-2): beat Eric Maldonado (CP) 7-6 on 2/24/07 ... lost 9-5 to Heinrich Barnes (OSU) on 1/30/09 ... lost 6-2 to Henry Kofa (PSU) on 1/30/09 ... beat Vincente Varela (ASU) 4-3 in overtime on 2/6/09 ... beat Eric Maldonado (CP) 6-5 on 2/15/09.
157 lbs. Lucas Espericueta
RS Sophomore * Shafter, CA * 25-13
2008-09 Season: One of four team co-captains ... moved up from 149 pounds this season and has been Stanford's primary starter at 157 pounds ... enters the postseason with a 25-13 record ... posted a 13-9 mark in duals ... is 10-2 against Pac-10 opponents this season, with his only two conference losses both coming at the hands of ranked wrestlers ... one of three team members to reach the 20-win mark on the year, nabbing his 20th victory against UC Davis on Jan. 10 ... leads the team with 16 wins by decision and three technical falls ... also has four major decisions so far ... racked up 48 dual points, the third highest tally on the team ... posted a season-long seven-match win streak in November ... picked up his first win of the year in the Pac-10 opener against Cal State Bakersfield on Nov. 8 ... went 4-1 at the Oklahoma Open to take third place ... went 6-2 at the competitive Reno Tournament of Champions to claim fifth place ... picked up his 50th career win against Te Edwards of Arizona State on Feb. 6 ... has wrestled four ranked opponents, including three in the top-10 ... enters the conference tournament ranked third at 157 pounds.
Career vs. The Probable Pac-10 Field (7-3): lost 9-6 to Adam Hall (BSU) on 3/2/08 ... beat Steven DeLaFuente (CSF) 6-2 on 11/21/08 ... beat Alex Bubb (PSU) 3-1 on 12/18/08 ... beat Joey Wilson (UCD) 7-3 on 12/18/08 ... beat Joey Wilson (UCD) 2-0 on 1/10/09 ... beat Jon Brascetta (OSU) 11-4 on 1/30/09 ... beat Alex Bubb (PSU) 6-2 on 1/30/09 ... won 20-3 TF over Te Edwards (ASU) on 2/6/09 ... lost by fall (1:43) to Adam Hall (BSU) on 2/8/09 ... lost 9-4 to Chase Pami (CP) on 2/15/09.
165 lbs. Nick Amuchastegui
RS Freshman * Talent, OR * 26-5
2008-09 Season: Has wrestled in 31 matches for Stanford, securing the starting spot at 165 pounds as a redshirt freshman ... owns a 26-5 record, and has only lost one bout in 2009 ... currently the fourth-winningest freshman in school history with 26 victories ... recorded a team-best 12 match win streak in January and early February ... streak tied for the 10th-longest in school history ... second on the team with 26 wins, five major decisions and six pins ... owns a 7-3 record against conference opponents ... went 19-3 in duals and racked up a team-high 75 dual points .... won 12 of his first 14 collegiate bouts ... posted a major decision against Navy in the first dual match of his career ... went 4-0 and upended No. 11 Tyler Sherfey, a three-time NCAA qualifier, at the Cowboy Open in November ... claimed his first career tournament title at the event with his win over Sherfey in the championship ... nabbed his 20th win of the season at Air Force on Jan. 16, topping NCAA qualifier Stephen Crozier to become the 11th wrestler in school history to reach 20 wins as a rookie ... faced three ranked opponents during the year ... won six Pac-10 dual bouts ... ranked second in the Pac-10 heading into this week's conference championships.
Career vs. The Probable Pac-10 Field (6-3): lost by fall (1:22) to Joey Granata (CSB) on 11/8/08 ... beat Tyler Sherfey (BSU) 4-2 on 11/15/08 ... lost 7-4 to Keegan Davis (OSU) on 12/18/08 ... beat Dustin Noack (UCD) 2-1 on 1/10/09 ... beat Keegan Davis (OSU) 6-4 on 1/30/09 ... pinned Bryan Cantrell (PSU) in 1:49 on 1/30/09 ... beat Kyle DeBerry (ASU) 10-5 on 2/6/09 ... lost 3-2 to Tyler Sherfey (BSU) on 2/8/09 ... beat Joel Shaw (CP) 6-1 on 2/15/09.
174 lbs. Victor Haug
Freshman * Emigrant, MT * 8-21
2008-09 Season: Has wrestled in 29 bouts as Stanford's starting 174-pounder ... owns an 8-21 record with four wins coming in duals ... tallied 17 team points ... has a 2-8 record against Pac-10 opponents ... won the first two bouts of his career at the Menlo Open and placed fifth at the event ... pinned his opponent in 1:42 in his first collegiate match ... registered a win in his first career dual against Cal State Bakersfield on Nov. 8 ... snagged his first career win by technical fall in the dual against Cal Baptist ... recorded a major decision against Tim Dean of Army on Jan. 3 ... wrestled three ranked opponents during the year ... ranked ninth heading into the Pac-10 Championships.
Career vs. The Probable Pac-10 Field (0-6): lost by fall (2:28) to Tyler Bernacchi (UCD) on 1/10/09 ... lost 9-3 to Kyle Bressler (OSU) on 1/30/09 ... lost 5-3 to Ryan Sonderegger (PSU) on 1/30/09 ... lost 10-4 to Eric Starks (ASU) on 2/6/09 ... lost 13-4 MD to Nate Lee (BSU) on 2/8/09 ... lost 12-5 to Ryan DesRoches (CP) on 2/15/09 .
184 lbs. Jake Johnson
RS Junior * Prior Lake, MN * 28-14
2008-09 Season: One of four team co-captains... wrestled the first part of the year at 197 pounds then moved down to be Stanford's starting 184-pounder ... also wrestled three matches as a small heavyweight, and defeated Northwestern's Ben Kuhar in his first career heavyweight match ... has placed in all four tournaments he has competed in this season ... enters the postseason with a 28-14 record ... paces the team with 28 wins and is one of three team members to reach the 20-win plateau ... registered his 20th win of the year against Jake Vetter of Army on Jan. 3 ... recorded his 50th career win at the Reno Tournament of Champions in December ... posted a 14-8 mark in duals ... led the team with nine major decisions ... also recorded five pins and a win by technical fall ... won eight of 12 matches against Pac-10 opponents ... added 52 team points to the Stanford effort, second most on the team ... won all three of his bouts at the season-opening Menlo Open to claim the 197-pound title ... posted a win for the Cardinal in the first dual of the year against Navy ... posted a 4-2 record at the Cowboy Open in November to take fourth place ... went 3-1 at the Oklahoma Open and finished second at 197 pounds, advancing to the title match before being defeated by a top-10 wrestler ... took sixth place at the competitive Reno Tournament of Champions with a 4-3 record ... upset the first ranked wrestler of his career at the tournament, knocking off No. 15 Tim Hawkins of Cal State Fullerton ... wrestled five ranked wrestlers during the year ... enters the Pac-10 Championships ranked fourth in the conference.
Career vs. The Probable Pac-10 Field (5-3): lost 12-5 to Riley Orozco (CSB) on 11/8/08 ... beat Tim Hawkins (CSF) 9-2 on 12/18/08 ... won 8-0 MD over Brice Arand (OSU) on 12/18/08 ... lost 12-6 to Jon Clark (UCD) on 1/10/09 ... beat Brice Arand (OSU) 7-6 on 1/30/09 ... beat Jake Meredith (ASU) 5-0 on 2/6/09 ... lost 14-5 MD to Kirk Smith (BSU) on 2/8/09 ... pinned Ben Crosby (CP) in 5:33 on 2/15/09.
197 lbs. Luke Feist
RS Senior * Sandpoint, ID * 19-11
2008-09 Season: Stanford's only senior and one of four co-captains ... as moved up from 174 pounds this season to be Stanford's starting 197-pounder ... owns a 19-11 record ... posted a 10-9 mark in duals ... has won 78 career matches, the 10th-winningest wrestler in school history ... stands in sole possession of fifth place on the school's career top-10 list with 25 pins in his four years ... leads the team with 11 pins and is currently ranked second in the Pac-10 in the category ... has posted a pin nearly every week of the season this year ... 11 pins put him among the school's top-10 single-season leaders as well (9th) ... has posted a 6-5 record against Pac-10 opponents ... within one win of becoming the fourth Stanford wrestler to hit the 20-win mark on the year ... fourth on the team with 45 dual points ... won nine consecutive wins in November and December, the second-longest winning streak on the team ... first three losses came while wrestling as a heavyweight ... won five matches in the consolation bracket of the Oklahoma Open to nab third place ... also placed at the Reno Tournament of Champions for the first time in his career, going 4-1, pinning three opponents and upseting two ranked wrestlers on his way to the 197-pound title match ... took second placed in the tournament after defeating the second and third ranked opponents of his career - No. 19 Pat Bradshow of Edinboro and No. 14 Riley Orozco of Cal State Bakersfield ... pinned six opponents in eight matches in November and December ... six pins came in dual matches ... wrestled the toughest schedule on the team, with six matches against ranked opponents ... went 2-4 against those opponents ... ranked sixth heading into the Pac-10 Championships and has won four of his last five matches.
Career vs. The Probable Pac-10 Field (4-4): pinned Chad Hanke (OSU) in 4:13 on 12/18/08 ... lost 6-3 to Brandon Halsey (CSB) on 12/18/08 ... lost 7-5 in overtime to Abe Otrambo (UCD) on 1/10/09 ... lost 3-1 to Chad Hanke (OSU) on 1/30/09 ... pinned Keena Washington (PSU) in 3:29 on 1/30/09 ... beat Jake Cranford (ASU) 5-0 on 2/6/09 ... lost 6-4 to Brent Chriswell (BSU) on 2/8/09 ... beat Bo Lukehart (CP) 5-0 on 2/15/09.