Matt Gentry Becomes First Stanford Wrestler To Advance To NCAA Finals

March 20, 2004

St. Louis, Mo. - Matt Gentry has become the first Stanford wrestler to advance to the NCAA Finals after defeating Michigan's Ryan Bertin, 6-4, in a semifinal match in the 157-pound weight class on Friday at the NCAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday. The unbeaten and second-seeded Gentry (40-0) will take on third-seeded Jake Percival of Ohio in Saturday's finals, which will be televised by ESPN2 beginning at 5:30 pm, CT. Percival, also unbeaten at 38-0, knocked off top seeded and formerly unbeaten Alex Tirapelle of Illinois on Friday.

'It's pretty exciting,' said Gentry about becoming the first Stanford wrestler to reach the NCAA finals. 'It's been a goal of our program for a long time, especially a goal of mine since I can remember wanting to be in college wrestling. It's just exciting to finally be here and get to compete tomorrow night.'

Gentry began his run to the championship match with a pair of victories during the first day of action on Thursday. He pinned Dave Miller of Rider at 4:18 for a first round win before defeating Clarion's Chris Horning in an 8-4 decision.

Gentry defeated Percival, 13-10, in an exhibition matchup last month to take the 157-pound title at the NCWA All-Star Classic in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Gentry took control of that match early, jumping out to an 8-0 lead before hanging on for the victory.

'I know that I surprised him in the first couple periods, and then in the third period he came charging back strong,' said Gentry when asked about his previous meeting with Percival. 'Ever since then he's been extra motivated. Tomorrow night it's going to be a brawl from whistle start to whistle end.'

Gentry is the only Cardinal still in contention at the tournament. At 133 pounds, Paul Gross won his first match of the day 14-7 over Josh Keefe of UT Chattanooga before being knocked out of the tournament by Derek Moore of UC Davis. Gross fell in an 11-5 decision after winning two matches in the consolation bracket. Brad Metzler also fell in the consolation bracket today. After defeating Kevin Artis of UNC Greensboro in a 10-0 major decision and then beating Pennsylvania's Doug McGraw 3-1, Metzler lost to Coyte Cooper of Indiana in a 7-3 decision. At 174 pounds, Imad Kharbush lost to Leonel Sanchez of Cal State Fullerton in a close 4-3 match. Tanner Gardner, Paul Gross, Brad Metzler, and Imad Kharbush will all be supporting Matt Gentry in the championship match on Saturday.

125 pounds
Tanner Gardner (0-2); lost to Mike Mormille (Cornell), 4-2; lost to Matt Valenti (Penn), 10-7.

133 pounds
Paul Gross (2-2); lost to Matt Keller (Nebraska), 11-9; def. Trent Goodale (Iowa) by fall in 3:52. def. Josh Keefe (UT-Chattanooga), 14-7; lost to Derek Moore (UC Davis), 11-5.

141 pounds
Brad Metzler (3-2); def. Dereka Sola (Millersville), 5-0; lost to Nate Gallick (Iowa State), 6-3; def. Kevin Artis (UNC Greensboro) by major decision 10-0; def. Doug McGraw (Penn), 3-1; lost to Coyte Cooper (Indiana), 7-3.

157 pounds
Matt Gentry (4-0); def. Dave Miller (Rider) by fall in 4:18; def. Chris Horning (Clarion), 8-4; def. Philip Simpson, Jr. (Army), 8-2; def. Ryan Bertin, Jr. (Michigan), 6-4 in sudden victory.

174 pounds
Imad Kharbush (0-2); lost to Matt Herrington (Penn), 7-2; lost to Leonel Sanchez (Cal State Fullerton), 4-3.

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