Five Stanford Wrestlers Head to NCAA Championships
March 13, 2007
Stanford, Calif. - THIS WEEKThe five members of the Stanford wrestling team who qualified for nationals late last month will travel to Auburn Hills, Mich. this week to compete at the NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mar. 15-17. The first session, which includes pigtails and the first round, will begin Thursday at 11 a.m. (ET). The Championship Finals will be televised live on ESPN and will begin at 8 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.
FOLLOWING THE CHAMPIONSHIPSFor the first time ever, the Championship Finals will be aired live on ESPN primetime, starting at 8 p.m. (ET) on Saturday night. The quarterfinals and the semifinals will be aired live on ESPNU. Live results will be available online at NCAAsports.com. The quarterfinals and semifinals will also be available for viewing online via ESPN 360. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Palace of Auburn Hills Box Office directly at (248) 377-0100.
WHAT'S AT STAKEIn addition to competing for national titles in their respective weight classes, the five Stanford wrestlers will be looking to place in the top eight to earn All-America honors. Stanford has had 12 wrestlers earn 13 All-America honors in the past. Last season, Tanner Gardner finished eighth at the championships and will be looking to become the school's second two-time All-American this year.
REGULAR-SEASON RECAPThe Cardinal finished the 2007 season with an even 8-8 record and a 5-4 mark in the Pac-10. After dropping five of its first seven duals, the Cardinal put together a five meet winning streak which included a trio of Pac-10 wins. Juniors Tanner Gardner and Josh Zupancic placed in every tournament they competed in in 2006-07, and Gardner won three titles. Stanford had the most success at the Bison Open in mid-November, with seven wrestlers placing in the competitive field. At the Pac-10 Championships, Feb. 24-25, Gardner won the Cardinal's first individual conference title since 2004, with a first place finish at 125 pounds. Zupancic and freshman Zack Giesen finished second, Luke Feist finished fourth and Brian Perry finished fifth. Gardner, Zupancic and Giesen earned automatic berths in the NCAA Championships, while Perry and Feist were selected as two of the conference's nine wild cards.
NATIONALLY SPEAKINGJuniors Tanner Gardner and Josh Zupancic have both been consistently ranked in the national polls this season. Gardner was ranked fourth in the most recent national poll, but is seeded third in the championship bracket. Zupancic, earned his first national ranking on Dec. 5, and currently stands at No. 16 at 157 pounds.
STANFORD AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPSStanford has had 13 All-Americans in the history of the program, with Chris Horpel being Stanford's only two-time All-American. Len Borchers and Terry Crenshaw became the first Stanford All-Americans with fourth place finishes during the 1966-67 season. After Horpel took home the honor in 1973 and 1975, nine more Stanford wrestlers followed in his footsteps. The list includes Doug Perkins (1983), Jeff Wilson (1984), Scott Wiggen (1985), Dave Lee (1986), Steve Buddie (1990), Tod Surmon (1996), Beau Weiner (2000), Matt Gentry (2004) and Tanner Gardner (2006). Gentry stands as Stanford's only NCAA Champion, having won the 157-pound title in 2004. Gardner finished eighth at last year's championships and will be looking to become Stanford's second two-time All-American this season.
BACK AGAINLast year, just two wrestlers from Stanford qualified for the NCAA Championships: current Assistant Coach Ray Blake and current junior Tanner Gardner. Gardner is the only wrestler on the Stanford squad with NCAA experience. As a true freshman in 2004, he was a wild card selection after finishing fifth in the conference. In 2006, Gardner, the tournament's 12th seed, went 4-3 at the championships and finished eighth in the nation. Stanford finished 35th overall with 8.5 team points.
RECORD BOOKSWith 29 wins this year, newcomer Zack Giesen has climbed the Stanford charts and currently stands third all-time for wins in a freshman season. Tanner Gardner stands fourth all-time with 98 career wins, and fifth on the single-season wins chart with 38. With two or more wins at the NCAA Championships, Gardner would become the fourth wrestler in program history to reach the 100-win mark. He needs four more wins to tie Matt Gentry (`05) for the Stanford single-season wins record.
STANFORD STATSTanner Gardner leads the Cardinal squad with 13 pins this season and 83 team points. Gardner also leads the team with seven wins by technical fall. Freshman Zack Giesen leads the team in wins by major decision (9), while Giesen and Josh Zupancic lead the team with 15 wins by decision on the year. Zupancic and Giesen lead the team with 43 total matches this year, while Gardner leads the team with 38 wins.
THE COACHKerry McCoy is in his second season as the Head Coach of the Cardinal, and has been rapidly improving the qualilty of the Stanford wrestling program since the day he arrived on the Farm. He led Tanner Gardner to his first All-America honor last year, and led Zack Giesen, a member of his first recruiting class, to a second place finish in the Pac-10 and an NCAA appearance. McCoy was a three-time All-American at Penn State and went 131-1 in his final 132 collegiate matches. He is a two-time Olympian has been selected to coach the U.S. Freestyle World Team this summer.
UPDATED WRESTLER PROFILES
125 lbs. - Tanner Gardner
2006-07 Season: Ranked No. 4 in the nation and seeded No. 3 in the tournament ... Won Stanford's first Pac-10 individual title since 2004 on Feb. 25 ... Enters the NCAA Championships with a 38-3 overall record ... Undefeated in dual matches this season, with a perfect 16-0 record ... Leads the team with 13 pins and seven wins by technical fall ... Posted a team-best 83 dual points ... Placed in every tournament he competed in, winning titles at the Pac-10 Championships, Bison Open and the Reno Tournament of Champions ... Placed fourth at the Las Vegas Invitational and second at the Southern Scuffle ... Has faced six ranked opponents and gone 5-1 against them ... Enters the postseason on a 16-match win streak, dating back to Jan. 5 ... Has 98 career wins and will be looking for his 100th career win at the NCAA Championships.
157 lbs. - Josh Zupancic
2006-07 Season: Boasts a 33-10 record this season ... Placed second in the Pac-10 to earn one of the conference's automatic berths to the NCAA Championships ... Went 9-3 in dual matches and dropped just two conference duals ... Placed in every tournament he competed in, and won the Fullerton Open title with a 5-0 record ... Placed second at the Bison Open and the Reno Tournament of Champions ... Finished sixth at the Southern Scuffle and seventh at the Las Vegas Invitational ... Won nine-straight matches in late November, early December ... Has faced 11 ranked opponents and beaten two of them ... Has pinned five opponents, won four matches by technical fall and eight by major decision ... Fastest fall came against Mike Sorman of North Dakota State at the Bison Open, with a win in 26 seconds ... Leads the team with 43 total matches this season ... Ranked 16th nationally.
165 lbs. - Brian Perry
2006-07 Season: Placed fifth in the Pac-10 and earned one of the conference's wild card spots to qualify for the NCAA Championships ... Boasts 27 wins at 165 pounds this season, including 10 in duals ... Won five of six Pac-10 dual bouts ... Won 11 of first 13 matches to start the season, including an 11-8 upset of No. 4 Deonte Penn of Edinboro ... Has pinned five opponents, won one bout by technical fall and picked up seveb major decisions ... Placed third at the Bison Open in November with a 5-1 record ... Recorded fastest fall at the Bison Open, pinning Tony Hewitt of Concordia in 46 seconds ... Enters the postseason having won eight of his last 10 bouts.
174 lbs. - Luke Feist
2006-07 Season: Placed fourth in the Pac-10 and earned one of the conference's nine wildcard spots at the NCAA Championships ... Has 25 wins at 174 pounds, including nine dual wins ... Has a 6-3 record in Pac-10 duals ... Pinned seven opponents, won four bouts by technical fall and five by major decision ... Pinned five opponents in seven matches in mid-November ... Went on a season-best seven match win streak in mid-November ... Placed third at the Bison Open with a 4-1 record ... Faced nine ranked opponents ... Upset No. 11 Matt Palmer of Columbia with a 6-5 decision at the Stanford Duals ... Third on the team with 41 dual points.
184 lbs. Zack Giesen
2006-07 Season: Placed second in the Pac-10 and earned an automatic trip to the NCAA Championships ... Ranks third on the all-time Cardinal freshman win chart with 29 wins this season ... Holds an 8-1 record in Pac-10 duals ... Has pinned two opponents and won two matches by technical fall ... Leads the team with nine wins by major decision and 15 wins by decision ... Second on the team with 45 dual points ... Won nine of his first 11 matches in a Cardinal singlet ... Placed in first collegiate tournament at the Bison Open, taking third with a 4-1 record ... Won first collegiate title at the Menlo Invitational on Jan. 7 ... Recorded first collegiate pin on Jan. 21, with a win by fall over Ernesto Ancona of Cal State Bakersfield ... Has won 14 of his last 16 going into the postseason.