2009-10 Wrestling Season Outlook
Nov. 4, 2009
The Cardinal return eight out of nine starters and should be a much-improved team in 2009-10 under second-year head coach Jason Borrelli, who looks to reestablish the squad as a regional and national contender and continue to produce some of the top wrestlers in the country.
Last season, Stanford won eight duals, had four top-three Pac-10 place winners for the first time in more than two decades, and sent two wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. The only loss for the Cardinal this season is the graduation of three-time NCAA qualifier and four-time Pac-10 placewinner Luke Feist, who ended his prestigious career at Stanford with 83 wins and 25 pins, good for ninth and fifth best in program history, respectively.
In addition to the eight returning starters, this season the Cardinal and Coach Borrelli welcome back junior Zack Giesen from his redshirt year. Giesen is a two-time NCAA qualifier and the 2007 Pac-10 Co-Newcomer of the Year. He is joined by two other returning NCAA Qualifiers in redshirt junior Lucas Espericueta and redshirt sophomore Nick Amuchastegui, who will both help lead the Cardinal team.
“I am very excited about the upcoming year as we continue to move forward,” said Borrelli. “We have a lot of new additions to the line-up, which will help us tremendously. Zack Giesen returns from his redshirt year and our starters are one year more mature; one year more developed in terms of their wrestling skills. We should be greatly improved at every single weight class.”
Stanford will depend on its veterans to provide experience and leadership for the eam during the upcoming season. Amuchastegui, Espericueta and Giesen are all Pac-10 place winners and in the top-5 on Stanford’s freshman wins list. The trio has cmbined to post 137 wins thus far and are all on pace to finish their careers at Stanford in the top 10 in career wins.
“I think we have the right guys to have a really successful year,” Borrelli tated. “Our three returning NCAA Qualifiers are all capable of making great runs at the end of the season. They could easily be All-Americans and national championship contenders. With the other guys pushing them in the practice room, I am confident that we will have a very competitive line-up.”
In addition, five other 2009 Pac-10 place winners return for Stanford – senior 149-pounder Tyler Parker, senior 197-pounder Jake Johnson, redshirt junior 141-pounder Cameron Teitleman, junior 133-pounder Porfirio Madrigal, and sophomore 125-pounder Matt Sencenbaugh. Johnson led the team last season with a career-high 31 wins, including 14 wins in dual competition.
The Cardinal also boasts an extremely talented recruiting class that was ranked top- 15 in the nation in numerous polls and should make an immediate impact in 2009-10. Three of the eight newcomers were ranked among Intermat’s Top 100 Seniors in all weight classes last year. Ryan Mango was the top-ranked 119-pounder and the nation’s No. 9 recruit at all weights, while Kyle Meyer was ranked No. 11 nationally at 152 pounds and Bret Baumbach was ranked No. 9 nationally at 135 pounds. Between them all, the incoming class has combined for an impressive 15 state titles, three wrestler of the year awards and numerous All-America honors.
In addition to the freshmen, junior transfer Dylan Rush also joins the Cardinal in 2009-10 at heavyweight. Rush transferred to Stanford from UCLA, where he was a member of the Bruin football team. Rush may be the most important addition to the team this season as the Cardinal competed without a heavyweight for the majority of the 2008-09 season and was forced to forfeit the weight class in 19 of its 22 dual meets last year.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with our recruiting class,' said Borrelli. 'The class has come in with the right attitude, the right mindset. They have really bought into what we are trying to do as a program. All of the guys will add to our success this season, whether they are in the starting line-up or not. I am extremely excited about the future of the Stanford wrestling program.”
Borrelli also brings back his entire coaching staff from last season, including former Stanford standouts Matt Gentry and Ray Blake, along with Cal Poly product Vic Moreno. Gentry, a 2008 Beijing Olympian and former NCAA Champion for the Cardinal, will work primarily with the middleweights. Blake, a former team captain who won 41 matches during his senior campaign at Stanford, will focus on the upper weights. Moreno, a USA National Team member in 2008, will take responsibility in developing the lower weights for the Cardinal this year.
The coaching staff will be challenged to lead the Cardinal through a difficult schedule in 2009-10, as Stanford will wrestle in 19 duals and compete in some of the nation’s most competitive collegiate tournaments. The regular-season dual schedule includes four opposing teams ranked in the pre-season top-25 NWCA Coaches Poll. In December, the Cardinal will make its first ever appearance with an entire line-up at the prestigious Midlands Tournament at Northwestern University. Then, beginning in January, Stanford will face off against seven Pac-10 opponents in preparation for the 2010 Pac-10 Championship in Davis, Calif. A strong showing at the conference meet will qualify individuals for the NCAA Championships held in Omaha, Neb., from March 18-20, 2010.
“This is the first year that I have had the opportunity to make a schedule,” explained Borrelli. “One thing I tried to do this season was expose our guys to the teams that have been very successful over the years. I strongly believe that in order to be the best in wrestling you need to compete against the best. These experiences will prove invaluable by showing the guys where they need to be at the end of the season. I think this is one of the more challenging schedules we have had in recent years and I am excited about the competition we are going to face this season.”
2009-10 Cardinal by Weight Class
Stanford returns sophomore Matt Sencenbaugh at 125 pounds. The Auburn, Wash., native gained valuable experience during his first collegiate season, winning 11 matches and finishing as one of eight Stanford place winners at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships. Sencenbaugh will be challenged by incoming freshman Ryan Mango for the starting role this season. Mango hails from St. Louis, Mo., and was named the Missouri State Wrestler of the Year last season by the Missouri Wrestling association, the Missouri Officials Association, and the Post-Dispatch. He registered an incredible 95-0 record during his junior and senior seasons, garnering All-Metro conference and All-District honors. Two-year letter winner Austin Quarles has also been consistent at 125 pounds and will see more action at this weight class this season.
Junior Porfirio Madrigal is the team’s most experienced wrestler at this weight, finishing seventh as both a freshman and sophomore at the Pac-10 Championships. The Healdsburg, Calif., native was 16-11 overall, including 11-4 in dual competition a year ago. Madrigal will be challenged by redshirt junior Justin Paulsen, who has battled with injuries in the past, but is healthy and ready to make a big contribution this season. Newcomer Jordan Gray, a 3-time Vermont state champion at Essex High School, will also provide depth in this class, but will likely redshirt.
Two-year starter Cameron Teitelman will be sidelined due to injury until mid-December, so the 141 pound spot will be up for grabs. Incoming freshman Bret Baumbach looks to be the front-runner for the starting position. Baumbach was a top- 100 overall recruit coming out of high school, where he was a three-time state finalist and a four-time district champion at Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Another talented recruit, Wisconsin state champion Sam Umlauf from Wasau West High School, will give the Cardinal depth in this class if he chooses not to redshirt. Redshirt sophomore Steve Scheele is studying abroad during the fall semester, but will rejoin the team in January and may see time on the mat as well.
Stanford returns several veterans in one of its deepest weight classes, including one of its two seniors, Tyler Parker. The returning team captain is a two-year Pac-10 place winner and will look to make a big impact on the national level this year. Parker will be challenged by redshirt freshman Michael Kent, sophomore Timmy Boone and junior Max Rosefigura. Kent, a two-time California state place winner from Vacaville, Calif., has made big gains in the offseason and will see considerable mat time. Boone recorded a 7-9 record as a true freshman in 2008-09, while Rosefigura posted a 14-15 record a year ago.
Redshirt junior Lucas Espericueta, one of three returning team captains from a year ago, will be the starter at the 157-pound weight class. He is a 2008 NCAA qualifier and looks to return to the NCAA Championships and garner his first All-America honor in 2009-10. He was third on the team with 28 wins last season and is on pace to finish in the top-10 in career wins at Stanford. True freshman Kyle Meyer will provide much-needed depth for Stanford at this weight. Another top-100 overall recruit, Meyer is a four-time state champion out of Monett, Mo., where he led his team to the State Championship in 2008 and runner-up finishes in 2006 and 2009. As a senior, he placed third at the high school senior nationals and ended his career at Monett High School tied for the most wins in a single season.
Redshirt sophomore Nick Amuchastegui will reclaim his starting spot at 165 pounds this year after earning team MVP honors in 2008-09. The Talent, Ore., native had a stellar freshman campaign in which he finished runner-up at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships and qualified for the NCAA Championships. He tallied 29 wins, tied for third-most by a rookie in Cardinal history, and recorded a team-best 19-3 record in dual meet competition. During the course of the season, Amuchastegui compiled 12 consecutive wins, tying for the 10th best streak in school history. Kyler Hasson, a redshirt freshman from San Diego, should also see considerable action this season and will increase his skill set training with one of the team’s top performers.
Sophomore Victor Haug is the returning starter for Stanford at 174 pounds. He gained valuable experience as a true freshman, wrestling at the conference championships and facing four ranked opponents over the course of the season. Redshirt freshman Spence Patrick is another candidate to see mat time in the 174-pound weight class. A two-time state champion from Boise, Idaho, Patrick competed unattached in four tournaments last year, compiling an 8-6 record and one tournament title.
Stanford welcomes back two-time NCAA qualifier Zack Giesen from his redshirt year this season. The 2007 Pac-10 Co-Newcomer of the Year is a legitimate contender for an NCAA title in his fourth year on The Farm. The Grants Pass, Ore., native was a finalist at the University Nationals in freestyle competition last spring and holds a career record of 55-28 overall, including 23-7 in dual meets. Challenging Giesen for the starting spot will be returning third-place Pac-10 place winner Jake Johnson. The loser of the 184-pound spot will likely take on the starting role at 197 pounds. Newcomer Anthony Degani will give the Cardinal depth in the upper weights. Degani is a product of Crystal Lake Central High School in Crystal Lake, Ill., where he was an all-conference honoree, winning conference and regional titles as a senior.
The 197 pound weight class will be determined once either Zack Giesen or Jake ohnson has claimed the 184 pound class. Johnson, the other senior on the squad his season, brings the most experience to the weight class. Johnson is the favorite to move up a weight class this season for the Cardinal. He finished third at the Pac-10 Championships at 184 pounds in 2008-09 and led the team with 31 wins, including 14 dual wins and five pins. True freshman Richard Kessler may also see action this season. The Wisconsin native was a standout at Elkhorn Area High School, where he was a two-time state finalist, two-time Southern Lakes Conference champion, and the Wrestler of the Year as a senior in 2009.
Having to forfeit this weight class much of last season, Stanford is excited that transfer Dylan Rush will fill the void at heavyweight in a big way. At 6-4 and 270 pounds, Rush comes to The Farm from UCLA, where he was a member of the Bruin football team. He is a 2006 graduate of Konawaena/K’au in Kealakekua, Hawai’i, where he won three state titles, four conference titles, and was ranked in the top-10 nationally as a senior at 285 pounds.