Jan. 31, 2007
Stanford, Calif. -
The Pac-10 wrestling race heats up this week, as the Cardinal takes on two challenging conference opponents in Burnham Pavilion. Stanford meets the Oregon Ducks at 5 p.m. Friday night and follows with a 7 p.m. match-up with the Cal Poly Mustangs.
Stanford (4-5, 2-1 Pac-10) has won its last three duals, including Saturday's exhibition with Menlo College, and will look to pick up two important conference wins this week. In conference, Stanford has won two of three duals with wins over Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Fullerton and a loss to UC Davis. Stanford is led by its five wrestlers ranked in conference, four of whom boast more than 20 wins this year.
Included in the standout group are Stanford's two nationally-ranked wrestlers, Tanner Gardner and Josh Zupancic. Gardner is currently top-ranked in the Pac-10 and No. 3 nationally at 125 pounds. A Cardinal co-captain, he leads the team with 47 dual points, a 27-3 record and nine pins. Zupancic, ranked second in the Pac-10 and No. 16 nationally at 157 pounds, also has 27 wins this season. Senior Brian Perry is third-ranked in the conference at 165 pounds, while sophomore Luke Feist and freshman Zack Giesen stand fourth at 174 pounds and 184 pounds, respectively.
The other five wrestlers in the Cardinal line-up will have the opportunity to upset some of the conference's top wrestlers in their weight classes. Cal Poly (4-3, 4-1 Pac-10) has the conference's top-ranked wrestlers at 133 pounds, 197 pounds and heavyweight in Darrell Vasquez, Matt Monteiro and Cody Parker, respectively. Seven Mustangs are currently ranked in the Pac-10 and Vasquez, Monteiro and Parker are ranked in the top-25 nationally. Cal Poly has defeated Cal State Fullerton, Boise State, Portland and Cal State Bakersfield in Pac-10 action so far and fallen in a close decision to Oregon, 21-19.
Oregon's starting line-up contains six wrestlers ranked in the conference. Cardinal wrestlers Cameron Teitelman, Matt Kim and Phillip Doerner will look to pull upsets over the Ducks' top performers at 133 pounds, 141 pounds and heavyweight. The Duck squad (2-7, 1-5 Pac-10) has struggled in conference so far this season, dropping five of their six Pac-10 duals. Oregon's only conference win came against Cal Poly on Jan. 5.
Last year, Stanford topped Oregon at home, 22-15, and fell to Cal Poly, 29-13, on the road. Cardinal wrestlers are 8-4 against Cal Poly wrestlers this season, with 11 of the 12 bouts coming at the Fullerton Open on Nov. 18. Stanford saw Oregon at the Reno Tournament of Champions and went 3-0 against the Ducks. Gardner topped Ryan Dunn at 125 pounds, 6-1, Scott Loescher earned an 11-1 major decision over Jake McCoy and Tyler Parker beat Oregon's Zack Frazier, 7-4.
"Cal Poly and Oregon have had up and down seasons to this point, so we really don't know what to expect as far as line-ups go," said Head Coach Kerry McCoy. "I do know that they're both very tough teams. Cal Poly is always one of the conference's top teams and Oregon is coming off of a season where they had two All-Americans and a National Champion. Our guys are looking better everyday and have had some great training, so we're right on track for where we need to be at the end of the year. This is just one of those weekends where we need to challenge ourselves to be our best in preparation for the end of the year."