Four Cardinal Wrestlers Head To Omaha For NCAA Championships

March 16, 2010

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THIS WEEK: Four Stanford wrestlers - juniors Zack Giesen and Justin Paulsen, sophomore Nick Amuchastegui and freshman Ryan Mango - will continue the 2009-10 season this week, competing on collegiate wrestling's largest stage. The Cardinal have qualified for the 2010 NCAA Championships, which will be held in Omaha, Neb., Mar. 18-20.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: Mango (125 pounds), Paulsen (133 pounds), Amuchastegui (165 pounds) and Giesen (184 pounds) will be competing with 32 other wrestlers from around the nation for the individual national title in their respective weight classes. The top eight finishers in each weight class will be named 2010 All-Americans.

FOLLOW THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: ESPNU and ESPN will combine for expanded live coverage of the championships on Friday, Mar. 19, and Saturday, Mar. 20. The coverage begins with the quarterfinals on Friday at 7:30 a.m. (PT) on ESPNU and continues through the 4:30 p.m. (PT) championship finals on ESPN. Tickets to the championships have been sold out.

HOW THEY GOT THERE: Amuchastegui and Mango are both automatic qualifiers for this year's NCAA Championships. Amuchastegui (30-4) captured his first Pac-10 title at 165 pounds, posting a 3-0 record at the conference championships. Mango (24-13) placed third in his first Pac-10 Championships at 125 pounds. Both Giesen (30-5) and Paulsen (23-13) earned at-large berths to the postseason.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Both Giesen and Amuchastegui already have NCAA Championship experience under their belt. Giesen will be competing in his third postseason tournament and holds a 2-4 record at the championships. Amuchastegui will wrestle in his second straigth NCAA Championships, going 1-2 as a redshirt freshman last season.

FAMILIAR FOE: Amuchastegui will be taking on a familiar opponent in the first round of this year's championships, Missouri's Nick Marable. The pair squared off in the 2009 NCAA Championships, where Amuchastegui upset the then-No. 5 seed Marable, 5-2, in the first round.

REGULAR SEASON RECAP: The Cardinal concluded the regular season with a 10-8-1 regular season record, improving on its eight wins from a year ago. Stanford faced some tough injuries during the season, forcing the squad to forfeit a weight class in seven of its final eight duals. In it's most recent competition, the Cardinal defeated Cal State Bakersfield, 23-14, on Senior Day before falling at Arizona State, 24-13, in the regular season finale.

FOR THE RECORD: Junior Zack Giesen is now ninth all-time in career wins in Stanford history. He currently has 90 career wins and will continue to climb the list as the season comes to an end. Senior Jake Johnson ended his Cardinal career just one win shy of the top-10. The Prior Lake, Minn., native recorded an 84-51 record during his time on The Farm.

20 AND BEYOND: All four of Stanford's NCAA qualifiers have secured 20-win seasons, including Amuchastegui and Giesen who have reached the 30-win plateau. Last year, four Stanford wrestlers, including Amuchastegui, reached the 20-win mark. Senior Jake Johnson and junior Lucas Espericueta are the only other current Cardinal wrestlers who have posted more than 20 wins in a single season.

WIN STREAKS: Amuchastegui boasts the longest win streak for the Cardinal this season. He won 13 matches in a row before falling to Jarrod King of Edinboro at the Reno Tournament of Champions. Espericueta also strung together an impressive winning streak this year, tallying 11 consecutive victories between Nov. 21 and Dec. 20. Currently, Amuchastegui is on a nine-match win streak, while Mango has won three in a row and Giesen has won two straight. Spence Patrick ended his season winning five consecutive matches, competing at the California Collegiate Invitational on Jan. 30.

TOP NOTCH RETURNERS: Stanford's 17 returners are highlighted by a trio of NCAA qualifiers. 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 220 wins thus far and are all on pace to finish their time at Stanford in the top-10 in careeer wins.

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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