Stanford Hosts Fourth-Ranked Illinois

Jan. 12, 2006

Meet Coverage: Webcast

Stanford, Calif. --

Stanford (3-2) will host No. 4 Illinois (1-0) in the Cardinal's home-opener on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Burnham Pavilion. It will be the Cardinal's second match this season against a ranked opponent, after Stanford opened the season against Missouri in November.

'Illinois is coming off their third consecutive Midlands title,' noted head coach Kerry McCoy. 'They're ranked fourth in the country, but they are probably better than that. Our guys have to stay focused on wrestling hard and wrestling smart and not worrying about what the rankings say. We had a good week of training and we're ready to get this dual meet season going. What a way to start our dual meet season!'

With six ranked wrestlers in its probable line-up, Illinois will be intense competition for the Cardinal on Sunday. One of the weekend's biggest match-ups will be at 125 pounds, where Stanford's lone ranked wrestler, sophomore Tanner Gardner (No. 11), will likely face third-ranked Kyle Ott. Another major match for the Cardinal will be at 165 pounds, where Cardinal co-captain Ray Blake, who has already amassed 30 wins this season, will face ninth-ranked Mike Poeta.

Coming off a strong performance last week is true freshman Tyler Parker, who will likely face returning All-American Cassio Pero at 141 pounds. In his last bout, Parker battled 14th-ranked Max Meltzer of Harvard to overtime, falling 12-11 in sudden victory.

At 174 pounds, Stanford will start either redshirt freshman Luke Feist or fifth-year senior Brennan Corbett against 17th-ranked Donny Reynolds. Feist and Reynolds met in the opening round at Midlands, with Reynolds taking a 4-3 decision.

This weekend will also be a reunion off the mat, as first-year Stanford head coach Kerry McCoy and Illinois assistant Jeremy Hunter were both All-Americans at Penn State.

Illinois will face Fresno State on Friday night before coming north to take on Stanford.

Sunday's Probable Match-Ups
125 -- #11 Tanner Gardner (24-7) vs. #3 Kyle Ott (1-0) or Ryan Klinger (0-2)
133 -- Eric Minnick (3-11) vs. Gabe Flores (1-1)
141 -- Tyler Parker (9-9) or Juston Johnson (1-1) vs. Cassio Pero (7-4)
149 -- Josh Zupancic (14-3) vs. Troy Tirapelle (8-3) or Dan Zeman (3-4)
157 -- Scott Loescher (15-12) vs. #1 Alex Tirapelle (11-1)
165 -- Ray Blake vs. #9 Mike Poeta (13-3)
174 -- Luke Feist (10-11) or Brennan Corbett (5-4) vs. #17 Donny Reynolds (13-4)
184 -- Ryan Hagen (2-11) vs. #3 Pete Friedl (11-1)
197 -- Larry Ozowara (4-5) vs. #8 Tyrone Byrd (12-4)
HWT -- Jared Boyer (4-10) vs. Matt Weight (11-6) or Ben Zulauf (7-2)

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