Stanford Wrestlers Seek Titles, NCAA Berths At 2010 Pac-10 Championships

Feb. 24, 2010

THIS WEEK: The Stanford wrestling team (10-8-1, 2-3-1 Pac-10) has completed the 2009-10 regular season and is ready for the year’s ultimate showdown - the 2010 Pac-10 Championships. Ten wrestlers from each school will compete for conference titles and berth’s in next month’s NCAA Championships. This year, UC Davis plays host to the Pac-10 Tournament. Wrestling gets underway on Friday at Noon and continues through Saturday night at The Pavilion in Davis, Calif., with the finals set for 4 p.m.

THE FIELD: Boise State, the two-time defending Pac-10 Champion, highlights the field with a 15-3 record and a perfect 7-0 mark against conference opponents. The Broncos are the highest ranked Pac-10 squad coming in at No. 12. Oregon State and Cal Poly are also ranked, listed at No. 15 and No. 16, respectively. Twenty-five conference wrestlers are ranked nationally, including six from both Boise State and Oregon State.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: In addition to competing for team and individual conference titles, wrestlers will be looking to qualify for the 2010 NCAA Championships at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb., March 18-20.

FOLLOW THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: For the fourth 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 $20 for general admission all-session passes. Call the UC Davis ticket office at (530) 752-1915 for more information.

REGULAR SEASON RECAP: The Cardinal concluded the regular season with a 10-8-1 regular season record, improving on its eight wins from a year ago. Stanford faced some tough injuries during the season, forcing the squad to forfeit a weight class in seven of its final eight duals. In it’s most recent competition, the Cardinal defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 23-14, on Senior Day before falling at Arizona State, 24-13, in the regular season finale.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Stanford’s active wrestlers have made a combined 16 appearances at the Pac-10 Championships, but only half of the Cardinal’s probable line-up is included in that number.

STANFORD AT THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: Stanford has competed in NCAA wrestling since at least 1933 and has yet to win a conference championship. Since the conference became the Pac-10 in 1980, the Cardinal’s highest finish has been second, coming in 2008. Last season, Stanford had eight placewinners, including four in the top-three, the most since 1986.

NCAA HOPES: Stanford has sent a program-high five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships three times. Last year, senior Luke Feist and redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui represented the Cardinal in St. Louis, Mo. In 2004, five wrestlers qualified and Matt Gentry, now an assistant coach for the Cardinal, went on to win the 157-pound NCAA title.

FOR THE RECORD: Junior Zack Giesen is now ninth all-time in career wins in Stanford history. He currently totals 87 career wins and will continue to climb the list as the season comes to an end. Senior Jake Johnson is also closing in on the list. With 83 career wins, the Prior Lake, Minn., native needs just four more to break into the top-10.

20 AND BEYOND: Four Stanford wrestlers - juniors Zack Giesen and Justin Paulsen, sophomore Nick Amuchastegui and freshman Ryan Mango - have already secured 20-win seasons. Last year, four Stanford wrestlers, including Amuchastegui, reached the 20-win plateau. Senior Jake Johnson and junior Lucas Espericueta are the only onther current Cardinal wrestlers who have posted more than 20 wins in a single year. Johnson needs just two wins to do so once again this season.

WIN STREAKS: Sophomore Nick Amuchastegui boasts the longest win streak for the Cardinal this season. He won 13 matches in a row before falling to Jarrod King of Edinboro at the Reno Tournament of Champions. Junior Lucas Espericueta also strung together an impressive winning streak this year, tallying 11 consecutive victories between Nov. 21 and Dec. 20. Currently, Spence Patrick has won five in a row, competing at the California Collegiate Invitational on Jan. 30. Amuchastegui is on a six-match win streak.

TOP NOTCH RETURNERS: Stanford’s 17 returners are highlighted by a trio of NCAA qualifiers. Juniors Lucas Espericueta and Zack Giesen and redshirt sophomore Nick Amuchastegui. All three are Pac-10 placewinners and in the top-5 on Stanford’s freshman wins list. They have combined to post 212 wins thus far and are all on pace to finish their time at Stanford in the top-10 in careeer wins.

IN THE RANKINGS: Stanford made its first appearance of the year in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll, tying for 25th with Michigan State, in November. Individually, junior Zack Giesen is listed at No. 12 at 184 pounds. Giesen is also No. 13 by D1CW Rankings, while Lucas Espericueta is listed at No. 19. Freshman Ryan Mango is No. 23 at 125 pounds and sophomore Nick Amuchastegui comes in at No. 18 in the 165 pound weight class for D1CW.

PAC-10 RANKINGS: In the most recent Pac-10 individual rankings (Feb. 24), four Stanford wrestlers were listed in the top half of their weight class. Sophomore Nick Amuchastegui is the top-ranked 165-pounder, while junior Zack Giesen is listed second at 184 pounds. Freshman Ryan Mango (125 pounds) and junior Lucas Espericueta (157 pounds) are both ranked fourth.

FRESH FACES: Stanford has nine newcomers on its roster this year. Highlighting the rookies are six state champions in Hawaii’s Dylan Rush, Iowa’s Bret Baumbach, Missouri’s Ryan Mango and Kyle Meyer, Vermont’s Jordan Gray and Wisconsin’s Sam Umlauf. Additionally, the new faces on the Cardinal roster include Anthony Degani (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Richard Kessler (Elkhorn, Wis.) and Tek Li (San Francisco, Calif.).

HEAD COACH Jason Borrelli: Stanford is under the guidance of a second-year head coach Jason Borrelli. In his first season at the helm of the program, the Cardinal earned eight dual wins, had four top-three Pac-10 placers for the first time in more than two decades and sent two wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis. Borrelli, a former Central Michigan standout, first came to The Farm as an assistant coach in 2007 and quickly helped guide the Cardinal to one of its most successfull seasons in school history.

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