Pac-12 Tournament Central
THIS WEEK: The Stanford wrestling team (17-5, 4-1 Pac-12) has completed the regular season and is ready for this year’s ultimate showdown - the 2014 Pac-12 Championships. This year’s tournament will be hosted by the Cardinal in Maples Pavilion on Sunday, March 2. Ten wrestlers from each school will compete for conference titles and berths to next month’s NCAA Championships. Wrestling gets underway at 10:30 a.m. PT with a second session beginning at 3:30 p.m. PT, and the finals at 5 p.m. PT.
CATCH THE CARDINAL: Fans can watch the finals of the Pac-12 Championships live on the Pac-12 Networks at 5 p.m. PT. The earlier rounds will be live streamed through pac-12.org. A Pac-12 Wrestling Twitter handle (@Pac12_Wrestling) will be tweeting out live results for all teams. Stanford’s Facebook (Stanford Wrestling) and Twitter (@CardWrestling) will also provide updates throughout the day.
TICKETS TO THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Tickets to the championships are $15 for general admission all-session passes. Students/Youth/Seniors are $12 for all-session tickets, while groups of 10 or more are $10 each. Single session passes are $10 for general admission, $8 for Students/Youth/Seniors and $5 for groups of 10 or more. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at gostanford.com/tickets.
THE FIELD: All six teams will be fighting for the conference crown Sunday. Oregon State has won the past two Pac-12 titles and enters the weekend as the highest ranked team at No. 17 in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll. The No. 23 Cardinal is the only other squad ranked in the top-25. The Pac-12 boasts 12 individually ranked wrestlers in the InterMat top 20 polls.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: In addition to competing for team and individual conference titles, wrestlers will be looking to qualify for the 2014 NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., March 20-22.
REGULAR SEASON RECAP: The Cardinal finished the regular season with a program-best 17 dual wins, eclipsing a 39 year-old record of 15 wins set by the 1974-75 squad. Stanford went 4-1 in Pac-12 duals, falling only to Oregon State (21-14). Redshirt freshman Jim Wilson (30-6), redshirt senior Ryan Mango (25-3), senior Kyle Meyer (24-10) and sophomore Evan Silver (20-4) combined for 99 wins to lead Stanford.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: Stanford’s active wrestlers have made a combined 18 appearances at the conference championships. However, only four of Stanford’s 10 projected wrestlers have Pac-12 Tournament experience.
STANFORD AT THE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Stanford has competed in NCAA wrestling since at least 1933, but has yet to win a conference championship as a team. Since the conference became the Pac-10 in 1980, the Cardinal’s highest finish has been second, coming in 2008. Last season, Stanford took fifth as Bret Baumbach became the 15th Cardinal wrestler to win an individual title, taking home the 165-pound crown.
NCAA HOPES: Stanford has sent a program-high five wrestlers to the NCAA Championships on three occasions. Last year, Bret Baumbach, Dan Scherer and Evan Silver represented the Cardinal in Des Moines, Iowa. The trio finished 38th overall with 5.5 points. While Baumbach’s career ended with an injury at Arizona State on Feb. 3, Scherer and Silver both look to qualify for NCAAs for a second straight year. Redshirt senior Ryan Mango, who is a two-time All-American, is also back in the line-up for the Cardinal and will likely make his fourth appearnace at the national tournament.
JOINING THE ELITE: Redshirt senior 133 pounder Ryan Mango became just the eighth Cardinal wrestler to reach the 100-win plateau in January. Now with 106, the St. Louis, Mo., native is looking to become just the fifth two-time conference champion in program history, having won at 125 pounds in 2012. He also has the chance to become a three-time NCAA All-American and Stanford’s first NCAA Champion since 2004.
FRESHMAN WINS: Redshirt freshman Jim Wilson is 30-6 in his first season competing for the Cardinal. His 30 wins are the third-most by a freshman in school history, joining Dave Lee (37) and Matt Gentry (35). Both Lee (at Wisconsin) and Gentry went on to win NCAA titles during their collegiate careers.
SENIOR STATEMENT: Stanford senior Kyle Meyer is having the best season of his career, posting a 24-10 overall record and a 15-4 mark in duals. The Monett, Mo., native has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but is healthy this year and making the most of his final season on The Farm. Holding a 49-35 career record, Meyer has notched half of those wins this season.
HEAD COACH JASON BORRELLI: Stanford is under the guidance of sixth-year head coach Jason Borrelli. During his time on The Farm, Borrelli has accrued a 59-58-3 record and sent eight wrestlers to the NCAA Championships a total of 15 times. Borrelli, a former Central Michigan standout, first came to Stanford as an assistant coach in 2007 and has quickly turned the Cardinal into a national contender. Under Borrelli, the Cardinal has finished in the top 20 at the NCAA Championships twice, including a program-best 11th at the 2011 tournament in Philadelphia, Pa.