Stanford Hosts Menlo, San Francisco State Before Heading To Oklahoma Open

Nov. 25, 2008

THIS WEEK: The Stanford wrestling team (1-5, 0-2 Pac-10) continues the season with another pair of home duals this week and an appearance in the competitive Oklahoma Open. The Cardinal will face two Bay Area foes in Menlo and San Francisco State on Wednesday evening at Burnham Pavilion, then heads to Norman, Okla. for Saturday's Okolahoma Open.

ABOUT MENLO: Menlo, which was ranked third nationally in the preseason NAIA poll, enters Wednesday's dual with a 4-2 record. The Oaks are led by two senior defending NAIA National Champions - 174-pounder Robert Davis (who won at 165 pounds last season) and heavyweight Jesse Ruiz - who are both top-ranked in the NAIA. Three other Oak wrestlers - Jose Hernandez (125), Eric Garcia (133) and Lee Morrison (149) also hold top-10 national rankings. Last year, Stanford bested Menlo at home, 30-11.

ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO STATE: The Gators are 0-1 entering this week's dual with the Cardinal and are led by senior 125-pounder Curtis Schurkamp, a 2008 DII All-American who is top-ranked is his weight class. Junior heavyweight Steve Franklin is also a factor for the Gators, as the 2008 national qualifier was a preseason All-RMAC pick. Stanford and San Francisco State also met on the night before Thanksgiving last year, with the Cardinal claiming a 37-10 win.

ABOUT THE OKLAHOMA OPEN: After the duals on Wednesday, the Cardinal willl send a full squad to the Oklahoma Open in Norman, Okla. Among the teams planning to compete are two top-20 teams - No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 19 Oklahoma.

LOOKING AHEAD: Stanford takes a break for final exams after competing in Oklahoma on Saturday. The next event for the Cardinal is the Reno Tournament of Champions on Thursday, Dec. 18.

SO FAR THIS SEASON: Facing a number of early injuries in its upper weights, Stanford has wrestled short-handed in its first six duals and gone 1-5. Last week, the team pick up its first win against Cal Baptist, however, winning six bouts to edge the Lancers, 25-18.

TOURNEY SUCCESS: In the last two weeks, two Stanford wrestlers have claimed tournament titles. On Nov. 15, redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui upended a three-time NCAA qualifier who was ranked 11th nationally to win the 165-pound crown at the Cowboy Open. Last Sunday, junior Zack Giesen pinned three straight opponents to take the 184-pound title at the Fullerton Open.

EARLY LEADERS: The Cardinal wrestlers to watch this week include 165-pounder Nick Amuchastegui, 133-pounder Porfirio Madrigal and 197-pounder/HWT Jake Johnson. Amuchastegui owns an 8-2 record, recently posted a career-long seven match win streak and is the only team member to upend a ranked wrestler this year. Madrigal is 5-1 in duals and leads the team with 20 dual points, while Johnson boasts a team-high 11 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.

LOOK OUT FOR A PIN: Stanford's only senior, Luke Feist, is just one pin short of joining the top-10 list for career wins by fall. Feist, who won his first match of the year on Sunday, currently has 14 pins in his three-year career.

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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