Stanford Wrestling Set for Upcoming Season
Oct. 20, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford wrestling has made a name for itself. This year, the team is determined to break into the ranks of the nation's top wrestling programs and challenge to bring home the school's first conference title. With a two-time Olympian head coach, six returning starters, an All-American, and six promising newcomers, the Cardinal is in position to make it happen.
Last year, Kerry McCoy, a former Penn State standout, took the reins of the program and immediately made an impact. The first-year head coach was armed with a wealth of collegiate and international experience and a well-defined goal-- put Stanford on the map of national wrestling powerhouses.
Under McCoy's leadership, the team quickly returned to its winning ways, posting an 8-7 dual meet record and improving two places at the Pac-10 Championships. Two Stanford wrestlers advanced to the NCAA Championships, four placed at the Pac-10 Championships and sophomore Tanner Gardner became the 13th Cardinal All-American. In his second year at the helm, McCoy aims to take the program even further.
'We've had a lot of very positive things happen with the program this year,' says McCoy. 'I learned a lot in my first year. As a second year head coach, I have a much better idea of what to expect and that will make it easier to achieve our goals. We are ready to make Stanford the best program in the west and one of the top programs nationally.'
Stanford will begin its quest for a place at the top with a challenging schedule. The Cardinal begins the season in Edinboro, Pa. on November 4, facing Mercyhurst, Maryland and Edinboro in dual meets. Highlighting the weekend will be the match-up with Edinboro, a program that finished eighth at the NCAA Championships last season and returns two All-Americans. The following weekend, the Cardinal will compete in the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D., an event which includes NCAA runner-up Minnesota.
Another highlight of the 2006-07 season will be the first-ever Stanford Duals, held on the Farm on January 5. The four-team field features Lehigh University, a program that has finished in the top-10 five times in the last six years. Conference rival UC Davis and Columbia University will also compete in the inaugural event.
Pac-10 competition starts on November 17, when Stanford travels south to take on Cal State Fullerton. The conference season will once again challenge the Cardinal, as four Pac-10 teams finished in the top-25 last season. Stanford will meet three of the Pac-10 powerhouses, Oregon, Boise State and Cal Poly, in early February. No. 6 Arizona State will visit the Farm on February 16.
'This year is going to be a really good test for us,' says McCoy. 'We have a very competitive schedule that will help us prepare for the postseason.'
Postseason action for the Cardinal will begin at the Pac-10 Championships, where ten Cardinal wrestlers will compete for a conference title and a trip to the NCAA Championships. Coach McCoy is confident that his young squad is up to the challenge.
'We have a great group of guys this year,' says McCoy. 'Even though they are young, they have a lot of wrestling experience. Six of the ten athletes who wrestled at last year's conference tournament were freshmen or sophomores, so our future looks very bright.'
In addition to a strong base of returners, McCoy has added six talented newcomers to the 2006-07 roster.
'I am very excited about our freshman class,' he continues. 'They did not get a lot of attention by the media, but I believe we have one of the top classes in the nation. Stanford Wrestling is on the rise and these guys are an integral part of the direction we are moving.'
Here is a look at the 2006-07 Cardinal by weight class:
All-American Tanner Gardner returns for his junior season on the Farm after an outstanding sophomore campaign. Last year, Gardner posted a 37-13 overall record and finished eighth at the NCAA Championships. The Berryton, Kans. native aims to return to his starting role at 125 pounds, make another impressive showing at the Pac-10 Championships and improve on his All-American finish. Gardner is the only returning Cardinal wrestler with NCAA experience, and will be looked upon to take a leadership role on the squad this season. Freshman Justin Paulsen, a three-time placewinner at the California State Championships, will add much needed depth to the 125 pound weight class.
After a year of training with the team, redshirt freshman Matt Kim is ready?to make an impact in his first season in a Cardinal uniform. The West?Linn, Ore. native wrestled unattached in two collegiate tournaments last?season, and will look to build on his experience to become a consistent?wrestler for the Cardinal. Freshman Cameron Teitelman, a standout from?Calabasas High School in Southern California, will likely battle Kim for?the starting role.
Sophomores Eric Minnick and Rafael Chavez are the primary contenders for the starting spot at 141 pounds. Minnick moves up this year from 133 pounds, where he competed in 26 matches as a rookie last year. Minnick is one of six Stanford returners who competed at the Pac-10 Championships in 2006 and brings back valuable experience. Chavez, who redshirted last year, will look to reclaim the starting spot he won in 2004-05. The Rock Springs, Wyo. native posted 12 wins for the Cardinal during his first season on the Farm and took third at the California Open. Sophomore Alex Dao, who walked-on to the squad last year, will also challenge for the starting role at 141 pounds.
Sophomore Tyler Parker competed in 20 matches last year at 141 pounds and will move up this year to battle for the starting spot at 149. The Lawrenceville, Ga. native began his Stanford career with a second place finish at the Central Missouri Open and seven wins in his first nine collegiate matches. This season, Parker will look to take on another significant role for the Cardinal and make a name for himself as one of the conference's top wrestlers. Redshirt freshman Kyle Pubols and true freshman Lucas Espericueta will also be contenders for the starting spot.
Junior Josh Zupancic, who started at 149 pounds last season, and will move up and look to retain a starting role in 2006-07. Last year, Zupancic was undefeated in conference duals and one of the top wrestlers in the conference overall. With two straight 22-win seasons under his belt, Zupancic is ready to challenge for his first conference title and a place at the NCAA Championships. The Akron, Ohio native is not without a line of challengers, however. Redshirt freshman Peter Miller, a three-time Missouri state champion, is eager to earn a starting role this season. Sophomore Steven Frehn, a walk-on from Highland High School in Palmdale, Calif., will also compete at 157 pounds.
With the departure of NCAA qualifier Ray Blake, the 165-pound spot is up for grabs. Pac-10 placewinner Scott Loescher will move up from 157 pounds, looking to fill the vacancy and improve on last year's 21-19 record. Loescher took fourth at the conference championships last season, falling just one place short of his first trip to the NCAA Championships. This year, the junior returns as one of the top Cardinal wrestlers and will be a contender for the conference title. Stanford's lone senior, Brian Perry, will also challenge for the starting role. The Columbia, Mo. native, who placed at the Pac-10 Championships as a freshman, will look to regain his spot as one of the conference's best wrestlers. Sophomore Bobby Pease, who saw limited action last season due to a knee injury, will also return and attempt to win a starting role. Newcomer Anton Scherba, a local standout from Marin Catholic High School, will also compete for the starting job.
Sophomore Luke Feist returns at 174 pounds, after a noteworthy freshman campaign. Feist made an immediate impact in his first season of eligibility for the Cardinal, placing fifth at the Pac-10 Championships last year and posting 17 wins. The three-time Idaho state champion was also named the 2005-06 Outstanding Newcomer by his teammates and coaches. He will attempt to regain his starting role this year and is a prime candidate for an NCAA berth. Feist will be challenged by two newcomers, Zack Giesen and Jake Johnson, who may also compete at 184 pounds.
The 184 pound slot will likely be filled by a rookie, as freshmen Jake Johnson and Zack Giesen will likely battle each other for the spot. Giesen, hailing from North Valley High School in Grants Pass, Ore., is one of just 13 four-time Oregon state champions and will look to make an immediate impact for the Stanford squad. Johnson, a standout from Prior Lakes, Minn., finished second in 2005 and fifth at the Minnesota State Championships last season and was a two-time team MVP. Both newcomers will be looked upon to play key roles for the Cardinal this year.
Sophomore Jared Boyer will move down from the heavyweight class this year to compete at 197 pounds. Boyer gained valuable experience last season, competing for the first time at the collegiate level and facing five top-20 opponents. With 26 collegiate matches under his belt, the Oklahoma City native is ready to battle for the top spot in the conference.
In the heavyweight class, Phillip Doerner returns for his junior season, having gained valuable experience in three years of training with the squad. Last year, Doerner saw limited action but picked up a win in his first collegiate dual match. This year, Doerner is ready to take on a starting role and be a significant contributor for the Cardinal.
The Cardinal will kick off the 2006-07 season next Saturday, Oct. 28 with wrestle-offs at Burnham Pavilion scheduled for 2 p.m. At 5 p.m., the team will host its annual season kick-off dinner at the Foothills Tennis and Swim Club in Palo Alto.