Three More Duals On Tap For Cardinal Wrestlers

Nov. 18, 2008

THIS WEEK: The Stanford wrestling team (0-3, 0-1 Pac-10) continues the season with three duals this week, including its first of the year on The Farm. The Cardinal will wrestle Cal Baptist and conference opponent Cal State Fullerton on the road on Friday, then returns home to face No. 10 Northwestern in its home opener on Sunday at Burnham Pavilion.

ABOUT CAL BAPTIST: Cal Baptist begins its first year as a sponsor of collegiate wrestling, becoming the second NAIA school in California to do so. Leading the way for the Lancers in 125-pounder Chauncey Philipps, a junior transfer from Sierra College who is ranked seventh in the NAIA. Philipps and seniors Benny Garcia (149) and Enock Francois (184) all won titles at the team's inaugural CBU Open on Oct. 25.

ABOUT CAL STATE FULLERTON: The Titans were the Pac-10 frontrunner heading into the conference championships last season, but finished fifth at the two-day event in Eugene. Four Titans went on to the NCAA Championships, including 2008-09 returners John Drake (JR, 197 pounds) and TJ Dillashaw (SR, 133 pounds). Dillashaw, who is the only ranked Titan wrestler (No. 18), is a two-time NCAA qualifier who has taken fourth place at the Pac-10 Championships the last two years. Drake posted 25 wins last season and finished fifth in the Pac-10. Stanford lost to Fullerton at home last year, 25-17.

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats come to The Farm as the No. 10 team in the nation, boasting four ranked wrestlers, two All-Americans and three wrestlers who have wrestled at the NCAA Championships. Leading the way is three-time All-American and 2007 NCAA Champion Jake Herbert, a sixth-year senior who spent last year training for the Beijing Olympics and is currently ranked No. 2 nationally. Between 2005 and 2007, the Wildcat 184-pounder finished first, second and third at the NCAA Championships. Junior 125-pounder Brandon Precin, a two-time NCAA qualifier and 2008 All-American, also returns to the mats for Northwestern ranked in the top five (No. 4). Returning NCAA qualifer Keith Sulzer (SO, 141 pounds) and newcomer Jason Welch (FR, 157 pounds) are ranked No. 10 and No. 16, respectively.

AND A LITTLE COMPETITION ON THE SIDE: Five Cardinal wrestlers are scheduled to stay in Southern California and compete in the Fullerton Open on Sunday. The event, held at Titan Gym, runs all day and includes representatives from a number of conference teams. Last season, five Stanford wrestlers placed at the tournament, including 125-pound champion Tanner Gardner.

UP NEXT: Stanford continues the season with two more home duals and a road tournament over Thanksgiving weekend, before ceasing competition for a finals break. The Cardinal will host back-to-back duals with Menlo College and San Francisco State on Wednesday, Nov. 26, then heads to Norman, Okla. to wrestle in the Oklahoma Open on Saturday, Nov. 29.

SO FAR THIS SEASON: Facing a number of early injuries in its upper weights, Stanford has wrestled short-handed in its first three duals and lost all three. Last week, the Cardinal fell 34-10 at Wyoming, before competing in the Cowboy Open. Redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui claimed the 165-pound title to highlight the tournament, topping the first ranked wrestler of his career in the championship bout.

STARTING FAST: Redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui is the Cardinal wrestler to watch this week. The 165-pounder has started 6-1 and, on Saturday, upended a three-time NCAA qualifier who was ranked 11th nationally. Other top performers include sophomore 133-pounder Porfirio Madrigal and junior 197-pounder Jake Johnson. Madrigal remains undefeated in duals, while Johnson leads the team with nine wins.

TOP NOTCH RETURNERS: Stanford's 17 returners are highlighted by a trio that qualified for last year's NCAA Tournament. Junior Zack Giesen and senior Luke Feist have both competed at the last two NCAA Championships, and have more than 50 career wins apiece. Lucas Espericueta had one of the best freshman seasons in school history last year, winning 25 matches and qualifying for the NCAA Championships at 149 pounds.

A NEW LOOK: Stanford is under the guidance of a new head coach this season - former Cardinal assistant Jason Borrelli. Borrelli, a 2006 graduate of Central Michigan, was an integral part of the staff that led Stanford to one of its most successful seasons in school history last year. Working with the lower weights, Borrelli helped the Cardinal win 13 duals, post its highest Pac-10 finish in school history, its second-highest national finish and send a program-best five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships.

FRESH FACES: Stanford has seven newcomers on its roster this year, and three of those rookies have already been part of the starting lineup this year. Matt Sencenbaugh (Auburn, Wash.), Victor Haug (Emigrant, Mont.) and Timmy Boone (Poway, Calif.) all started for the Cardinal in its most recent dual, and are likely to be in the lineup again this week. At the Cowboy Open, Boone's first collegiate tournament, he went 3-2 with two pins and a technical fall.

IN THE RANKINGS: Junior Zack Giesen, a two-time NCAA qualifier, is considered one of the best 184-pounders in the nation. He was ranked 12th nationally in the most recent Intermat/NWCA Division I poll.

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