Sept. 10, 2002
Stanford, Calif. - After a rewarding 2001-02 season, the Stanford Wrestling team enters this year with even higher expectations. Three of the four NCAA qualifiers return to The Farm while young talent could push Stanford toward the top of the Pac-10. NCAA qualifiers Nathan Peterson (Jr., 125), Brad Metzler (So., 133), and Matt Gentry (So., 149/157) look to lead a charged Cardinal squad to another winning season. As a sophomore, Peterson tallied 25 victories en route to a third place Pac-10 finish. Gentry was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year by accumulating 35 victories and a conference runner-up finish and both Gentry and Metzler were included on Amateur Wrestling News' All-Rookie team. Stanford's turnaround season also earned head coach Steve Buddie National Rookie Coach of the Year honors from AWN.
While Stanford's NCAA qualifiers provide the foundation for the team's success, returners Justin Walker (Sr., 141), Harold Penson (Sr., 174/184), and Imad Kharbush (So.,174/184) will also push hard for a trip to the NCAA Tournament this season. Metzler and Walker will likely switch weight classes for the upcoming campaign, with Metzler at 133 and Walker at 141. Also, anticipate considerable starting time for new faces in the lineup, including standout Scott Polley (So., 149), two-time Oregon state champion Brennan Corbett (Fr., 165), three-time Montana state champion Ryan Hagen (Fr., 174), Ohio state champion Nick Lukens (Fr., 184/197), and Hawaii state champion Mark Egesdal (Fr. 184/197). Redshirt freshman Shawn Ritzenthaler will also get his first nod at heavyweight and should be fun to watch.
"Last season, this team believed and then proved it could be as tough as any team out there," said Buddie. "We have a challenging season ahead, but I am confident that this team will deliver another memorable season, inching us closer and closer to our ultimate goals of conference and national championships. Look for a great representation from this team in Kansas City in March."