Stanford Faces Wyoming In Home Opener Friday; Competes in Reno Tournament Sunday

Dec. 16, 2009

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THIS WEEK: Stanford returns to action this week with its home opener Friday night. The Cardinal will square off with the Wyoming Cowboys at 6:30 p.m. at Burnham Pavilion. The team will also compete at the Reno Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nev., Sunday, Dec. 20.

ABOUT WYOMING: Wyoming is under the guidance of second-year head coach Mark Branch. In his first season with the Cowboys, Branch led the team to a share of the Western Wrestling Conference regular season title and was named WWC Coach of the Year. Wyoming enters Friday’s dual with a 2-1 record. The Cowboys are led by sophomore All-American Joe LeBlanc (184), three-time NCAA qualifier senior Cory VomBaur (133/141) and sophomores Michael Martinez (125) and Shane Onufer (165/174).

ABOUT RENO TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS: The college portion of the tournament, now in its 15th year, is a 16-team invitational. Seven of the eight Pac-10 teams will be represented in the 2009 tournament. Last season 157-pounder Lucas Espericueta, 184-pounder Jake Johnson and senior 197-pounder Luke Feist all placed in the tournament, with Johnson and Feist upending ranked wrestlers along the way. Feist was the runner-up, while Espericueta took 5th and Johnson finished 6th.

LAST TIME: Stanford last hit the mats Nov. 26, shutting out Menlo (46-0) before defeating San Francisco State (27-12) to improve its dual record to 5-1. The win versus the Oaks included three pins, two major decisions and a technical fall. The Cardinal then posted four major decisions and a technical fall to secure the victory over the Gators.

UP NEXT: Following the Reno Tournament of Champions, the Cardinal will head to Evanston, Ill., to compete in the Midlands Tournament. The two-day event is being held Dec. 29-30 by host Northwestern.

WIN STREAKS: Sophomore Nick Amuchastegui has started the 2009-10 season with a 9-0 record, while junior Zack Giesen has tallied an 8-0 mark. Junior Lucas Espericueta has also strung together eight wins in a row and holds a 9-2 record on the year.

NWCA All-STAR CLASSIC: Redshirt junior Zack Giesen defeated Enock Francois of Cal Baptist University in a featured bout in front of a crowd of more than 4,000 at the 44th Annual NWCA All-Star Classic, held at Titan Gym in Fullerton, Calif. on Nov. 22.

TOP NOTCH RETURNERS: Stanford’s 17 returners are highlighted by a trio of NCAA qualifiers. Redshirt juniors Lucas Espericueta and Zack Giesen and redshirt sophomore Nick Amuchastegui. All three are Pac-10 placewinners and in the top-5 on Stanford’s freshman wins list. They have combined to post 168 wins thus far and are all on pace to finish their time at Stanford in the top-10 in careeer wins.

IN THE RANKINGS: Stanford made its first appearance of the year in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll, tying for 25th with Michigan State. Individually, redshirt sophomore Nick Amuchastegui and redshirt junior Zack Giesen are listed among the top-20 in the InterMat rankings. Amuchastegui comes in at No. 16 in the 165 pound weight class, while Giesen holds the No. 13 slot at 184 pounds.

GETTING TO KNOW...: Two Cardinal wrestlers have been featured on the’s Q&A feature “7 Minutes With...”. To read what junior heaveyweight Dylan Rush had to say click here or to read what redshirt junior Zack Giesen had to say click here.

FRESH FACES: Stanford has nine newcomers on its roster this year. Highlighting the rookies are six state champions in Hawaii’s Dylan Rush, Iowa’s Bret Baumbach, Missouri’s Ryan Mango and Kyle Meyer, Vermont’s Jordan Gray and Wisconsin’s Sam Umlauf. Additionally, the new faces on the Cardinal roster include Anthony Degani (Crystal Lake, Ill.), Richard Kessler (Elkhorn, Wis.) and Tek Li (San Francisco, Calif.).

HEAD COACH Jason Borrelli: Stanford is under the guidance of a second-year head coach Jason Borrelli. In his first season at the helm of the program, the Cardinal earned eight dual wins, had four top-three Pac-10 placers for the first time in more than two decades and sent two wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis. Borrelli, a former Central Michigan standout, first came to The Farm as an assistant coach in 2007 and quickly helped guide the Cardinal to one of its most successfull seasons in school history.

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