Tanner Gardner & Ray Blake Prepare For NCAAs
March 14, 2006
Stanford co-captains Tanner Gardner and Ray Blake are headed to Oklahoma City for the 2006 Division I Wrestling Championships, which take place March 16-18 at the Ford Center. Gardner, who finished second in the Pac-10, was awarded a No. 12 at 125 pounds in his second tournament, while Blake, who took third place in the conference at 165 pounds, will enter his first NCAA Championships un-seeded.
Gardner enters the NCAA Championships with a 33-10 record this season. He will wrestle Steve Mytych of Drexel in the opening round. Gardner, a redshirt sophomore, also qualified for the NCAAs in his first season on The Farm as a true freshman in 2004. Mytych has had an impressive freshman campaign, was the No. 1 seed at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships and was twice honored as Rookie of the Week. He has amassed 26 wins this season, the second-most ever by a freshman at Drexel.
Blake, who is ranked No. 12 in the nation, is un-seeded in the 165-pound bracket at nationals and will face fourth-seeded Nick Baima of Northern Iowa. Blake is 41-11 on the year and is just one win shy of Matt Gentry's school record of 42 wins in a single season. Baima, a junior, owns a 33-3 record this season (his only losses coming from No. 1 Johny Hendricks of Oklahoma State and two to No. 8 Travis Paulson of Iowa State).
The event will be hosted by the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City All Sports Association. Updated brackets will be available through NCAAsports.com. Competition will begin at 11 a.m. (CT) on Thursday morning.