Two Duals In Colorado Up Next For Cardinal

Jan. 13, 2009

THIS WEEK: The Stanford wrestling team (3-10-1, 0-3 Pac-10) is back on the road this week, meeting Air Force and Northern Colorado in two duals in the Centennial State. Stanford and Air Force square off at 7 p.m. (MT) on Friday night. The team concludes the trip against the Northern Colorado Bears on Saturday at 7 p.m. (MT).

ABOUT AIR FORCE: The Falcons (1-5) are led by their two returning NCAA qualifiers - Stephen Crozier and Tyler French. Crozier, a senior 165-pounder, has won five of his six dual matches this year, while French, a junior 174-pounder, is the defending NCAA West Regional Champion. Air Force picked up its first win of the year, a 24-15 victory over Cal Baptist, last Saturday.

ABOUT NORTHERN COLORADO: The Bears (1-8-1) are led by junior Tony Mustari, a 125-pounder who ranks No. 17 in his weight class. A two-time NCAA qualifier, Mustari has already won two tournaments this year. Also among the top performers for Northern Colorado is junior Kenny Hashimoto, a 141-pounder who was ranked as high as ninth nationally two seasons ago before sitting out to train for the Olympics in Judo. The Bears only win so far came against the Pac-10's Portland State, but six of their eight losses have come at the hands of ranked opponents.

LOOKING AHEAD: Stanford takes a week off, then resumes competition at home on Jan. 30. The Cardinal hosts Pac-10 foes Oregon State and Portland State, along with Princeton, in a packed day of wrestling at Burnham Pavilion.

SO FAR THIS SEASON: Facing a number of early injuries in its upper weights, Stanford has wrestled short-handed in many of its duals and gone 3-10-1. The Cardinal went 0-2-1 at the Stanford Duals in Burnham Pavilion last week, losing to Columbia and UC Davis and locking 21-21 with Drexel.

PINS A PLENTY...: Stanford's only senior, Luke Feist, stands in sole possession of sixth place on the school's career top-10 list with 22 pins in his four years. He has secured eight of his 13 wins by fall this season and currently stands two pins short of fifth place on the school's career chart (Chris Horpel `75 holds the school record with 56). Currently the Pac-10's co-pin leader, Feist is just one pin short of joining the school's single-season top-10 (Tanner Gardner `08 holds that record with 19 pins in 2007-08).

...AND WINS TOO: Luke Feist defeated Columbia's Lou Miller on Saturday to earn his 72nd career victory, thus joining the school's all-time career win list. He is now tied with Nathan Peterson `05 for 10th place.

FAB FROSH: Redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui is on pace to post one of the best rookie seasons in school history. With a 19-4 record and 50 dual points, Amuchastegui is already the most consistent wrestler in the Cardinal lineup. One more win will place him among the 10 winningest freshmen in school history. Only two Stanford freshmen, Matt Gentry (2002) and Dave Lee (1985) have ever reached 30 wins as newcomers.

NIFTY FIFTY: Junior Jake Johnson picked up his 50th career win at the Reno Tournament on Dec. 18, using a technical fall in his first match to reach the milestone. Johnson joins teammates Luke Feist and Zack Giesen as the only current Stanford wrestlers in the 50-win club. Sophomore Lucas Espericueta is just five wins short of joining them.

20 AND BEYOND: Sophomore Lucas Espericueta secured his second-straight 20-win season on Saturday, defeating his UC Davis opponent to nab No. 20. Junior Jake Johnson became the first Stanford wrestler to reach 20 wins on Jan. 3, and freshman Nick Amuchastegui (19-4) needs just one more win to reach the milestone. Last season five Stanford wrestlers, including Johnson and Espericueta, reached the 20-win plateau. Junior Zack Giesen (2006-07 and 2007-08) and senior Luke Feist (2006-07) are the only other current Cardinal wrestlers who have posted more than 20 wins in a single year.

TOUGH SCHEDULE: Stanford wrestlers have faced some of the nation's top competition this year, taking on 34 ranked opponents so far. To date, the Cardinal has pulled four upsets in those matches, with big wins coming from Luke Feist, Jake Johnson and Nick Amuchastegui.

FIRSTS ON THE `MATT': Matt Sencenbaugh and Matt Winterbourne both recorded firsts on Saturday at the Stanford Duals. Matt Sencenbaugh, the Cardinal's 125-pounder, nabbed his first career dual win against Drexel's Michael Gomez. Matt Winterbourne, the team's heavyweight, made his first collegiate appearance in duals against Columbia and Drexel.

TOURNEY TITLES: Two Stanford wrestlers claimed tournament titles in November. 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. On Nov. 23, junior Zack Giesen pinned three straight opponents to take the 184-pound title at the Fullerton Open.

STANFORD WATCH LIST: Redshirt freshman Nick Amuchastegui headlines the Stanford wrestlers to watch this week, as the Talent, Ore. native won all three of his bouts for the second straight week. Amuchastegui, who is riding a six-match win streak, got his first career win over a ranked opponent on Nov. 15, boasts a 19-4 record and has tallied a team-high 50 dual points. Jake Johnson (22-12) and Max Rosefigura (14-13) each won two of their three bouts at the Stanford Duals last week, and Johnson paces the team with 22 wins and nine major decisions.

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. Matt Sencenbaugh (Auburn, Wash.), Victor Haug (Emigrant, Mont.) and Timmy Boone (Poway, Calif.) are already playing a vital role for the Cardinal in their first collegiate seasons.

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