Jan. 24, 2008
Stanford, Calif. -
In front of an enthusiastic home crowd, senior 125-pounder Tanner Gardner strapped his opponent to the mat, earned his career-best 15th pin of the year and clinched a 22-16 Cardinal win over the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners at the Ford Center tonight. Stanford won six of ten bouts, and improved to 8-2 on the year, with a 2-1 mark in Pac-10 duals.
Gardner (28-1), who is one of the nation's top-three season pin leaders, capped the exciting come-from-behind Cardinal win. The two-time All-American is now within three pins of the program's single-season record and just eight wins short of the program's career win record.
The dual started at 141 pounds, and the Roadrunners took a quick six-point lead when freshman Elijah Nacita pinned Stanford freshman Max Rosefigura (9-8) in 2:09.
In the next bout, however, redshirt freshman Lucas Espericueta (20-7) avenged a November loss to Cal State Bakersfield's Jeremy Doyle to put the Cardinal on the board. Espericueta, who was pinned by the Roadrunner senior at the Las Vegas Invitational, picked up two nearfall points in the second period to earn a crucial 4-2 decision for Stanford. The Shafter, Calif. native became the third Cardinal wrestler to reach the 20-win mark this season.
Josh Zupancic (26-5), the nation's tenth-ranked 157-pounder, then bested Roadrunner freshman Trevor Hall, 10-5, to tie the team score at six.
The Roadrunners took back the lead at 165 pounds, as Bakersfield's only returning NCAA qualifier, Daniel Atondo, posted a 15-5 major decision over Stanford sophomore Peter Miller (13-8).
At 174 pounds, Stanford junior Luke Feist
(7-7) edged Roadrunner junior Jason Points, 4-3, and began a fierce Cardinal comeback. Feist's pair of first period takedowns made the difference, helping the 2007 NCAA qualifier to his fourth dual win of the season.
In the ensuing bout, sophomore Zack Giesen (18-6) dominated the Roadrunners' Riley Orozco, twice putting him on his back for three-point nearfalls. Giesen batted for the 13-2 major decision and gave Stanford its first lead of the night, 13-10.
Fellow sophomore Jake Johnson (19-8) extended the Cardinal lead with a win at 197 pounds. The Prior Lake, Minn. native scored two takedowns and a key reversal to earn an 8-3 decision over Bakersfield's Ernesto Ancona and boosted the Stanford lead to 16-10.
The Roadrunners battled back with a win at heavyweight, however. Ryan Bergman broke a third period tie with a takedown and topped Stanford senior Phillip Doerner (15-13), 6-4.
With Stanford up by just three, Gardner took to the mat at 125 pounds, needing to dominate his opponent to seal the win. The senior scored a quick takedown of Bakersfield's Zack Bigboy, but was reversed to bring the bout into a tie at two. With just seconds remaining in the first period, Gardner reversed Bigboy, then put him on his back with three seconds left to clinch Stanford's eighth win of the year.
With the match sealed in favor of the Cardinal, the Roadrunners' Thomas Kimbrell topped Stanford freshman Porfirio Madrigal (5-8), 7-4.
Giesen and Gardner were awarded the Tod Surmon award for the most outstanding performance following the dual. With seven duals still remaining, Stanford's eight wins match the team's 2007 total and Kerry McCoy's high as a head coach.
"I'm really excited about the win," said McCoy. "The guys really pulled together and won as a team."
Stanford returns to the mats tomorrow night for two more home dual meets. The Cardinal will meet Menlo College in the first contest at 5 p.m. and will take on Pac-10 foe Portland State in the second dual at 7 p.m. Menlo and Portland State will begin the day with a neutral site dual on the Stanford campus beginning at 3 p.m. All three matches will be held at the Ford Center.
Stanford 22, CS Bakersfield 16
125 - No. 6 Tanner Gardner (S) pinned Zack Bigboy (B), 2:57
133 - Thomas Kimbrell (B) dec. Porfirio Madrigal (S), 7-4
141 - Elijah Nacita (B) pinned Max Rosefigura (S), 2:09
149 - Lucas Espericueta (S) dec. Jeremy Doyle (B), 4-2
157 - No. 10 Josh Zupancic (S) dec. Trevor Hall (B), 10-5
165 - Daniel Atondo (B) maj. dec. Peter Miller (S), 15-5
174 - Luke Feist (S) dec. Jason Points (B), 4-3
184 - Zack Giesen (S) maj. dec. Riley Orozco (B), 13-2
197 - Jake Johnson (S) dec. Ernesto Ancona (B), 8-3
HWT - Ryan Bergman (B) dec. Phillip Doerner (S), 6-4
*Started at 141 pounds