Josh Zupancic Heads To National Semifinal
March 21, 2008
St. Louis, Mo. - Stanford senior Josh Zupancic recorded a successful third session at the NCAA Wrestling Championships this morning, punching his ticket to the national semifinal match. With his quarterfinal round win, Zupancic (39-6) secured his second consecutive All-America honor, and became the third two-time All-American in school history.
In a high-scoring affair, 157-pound Zupancic battled to win a 9-8 decision over Hofstra's Jonny Bonilla-Bowman and clinch his All-America honor. Zupancic scored first, but Bonilla-Bowman took three separate leads and went ahead 5-3 midway through the second period. Zupancic continued to fight, however, and scored a reversal late in the second period, and what proved to be the winning takedown in the third. Following his last takedown, which gave him an 8-6 lead, the Cardinal senior earned a critical riding time point, and held on for the 9-8 win.
Zupancic joins teammate Tanner Gardner and former wrestler Chris Horpel and the program's only two-time All-Americans. Zupancic finished seventh last year, and can do no worse than a sixth-place finish this season. He advances to tonight's national semifinal match, where the 12th-seeded Stanford senior will face Cornell's eighth-seeded Jordan Leen. Zupancic, who has now bested a combined six ranked wrestlers and ousted four seeded wrestlers in his two trips to the NCAA Championships, will look to continue his history of upsets tonight.
In the 125-pound quarterfinals, Gardner was upset by Iowa's No. 5 Charlie Falck, suffering just his second loss of the year. Gardner won a meeting between the two in last year's NCAA seventh place match, but this time Falck came out on top in a close decision. The wrestlers exchanged leads, and Gardner scored a takedown to go up 4-2 heading into the final period. Falck recorded a third period takedown to tie, however, and held on for a riding time point to win 5-4.
Gardner will continue his quest to be Stanford's first three-time All-American tonight, battling Arizona State's No. 14 Anthony Robles in a rematch of the 2008 Pac-10 Championship bout.
In the consolation bracket, sophomore Zack Giesen upset the first ranked wrestler of his career in his opening match of the day. The 184-pounder upended No. 19 Christopher Honeycutt of Edinboro, 5-3, coming from behind to score the winning takedown in the third period. He will look to upset another ranked opponent, No. 18 Kurt Brenner of West Virginia in his next match.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the third period, Stanford's Luke Feist was pinned by Alex Dolly of Northern Iowa in his consolation match (6:08). He finishes his junior season with a 17-12 overall mark, and will return as the only senior on the Cardinal roster next season.
Session IV begins at 6 p.m. (CT) tonight at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Gardner will wrestle to become Stanford's first three-time All-American, while Zupancic will look to earn a place in the 157-pound championship bout.
2007 NCAA Championships
St. Louis, Mo.
Tanner Gardner (2-1): dec. No. 12 Steve Mytych (Drexel), 3-0; tech. fall Anthony Mustari (Northern Colorado), 16-0; lost to No. 5 Charlie Falck (Iowa), 5-4.
Lucas Espericueta (0-2): fall to Edward McCray (Gardner-Webb), 1:19; lost to No. 14 Cesar Grajales (Penn), 7-5.
Josh Zupancic (3-0): maj. dec. No. 16 Jeff Marsh (Michigan), 13-4; dec. No. 5 C.P. Schlatter (Minnesota), 5-4; dec. Jonny Bonilla-Bowman (Hofstra), 9-8.
Luke Feist (1-2): maj. dec. Alex Caruso (Lehigh), 9-0; lost to No. 2 Steve Luke (Michigan), 5-2; fall to Alex Dolly (Northern Iowa), 6:08.
Zack Giesen (2-1): pinned Chris Daggett (Liberty), 6:27; fall to No. 1 Jake Varner (Iowa State), 2:06; dec. No. 19 Christopher Honeycutt (Edinboro), 5-3; No. 18 Kurt Brenner (West Virginia).