Oct. 16, 2008
Stanford, Calif. -
Stanford wrestlers Luke Feist, Zack Giesen and Lucas Espericueta earned top-20 rankings when the InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Division I Individual Preseason Rankings were released today. All three Cardinal wrestlers are coming off appearances at the NCAA Championships and top-four finishes in the Pac-10 conference. Each is ranked nationally for the first time in his career.
Feist, who came in at No. 14 at 174 pounds in the poll, is the only senior on Stanford's roster. He has made it to the NCAA Championships the last two seasons, started for the last three years, racked up 59 wins and placed among the top five at the Pac-10 Championships three times. Last season, he posted a career-best third-place finish at Pac-10s, earned an automatic return trip to the national championships in St. Louis and won his first career NCAA Championship match with a major decision in the opening round.
Giesen, another two-time NCAA qualifier, was listed at No. 13 at 184 pounds and returns for his junior season as one of the best wrestlers on the Cardinal roster. The Pac-10 Freshman of the Year two years ago, Giesen has a fourth-place and runner-up Pac-10 finish to his name. Last season, he won his first career NCAA Championship match with a pin in the opening round then upended the first ranked opponent of his career later in his championship run. At the midpoint of his collegiate career, Giesen already has racked up 55 wins, and is on pace to be one of the five winningest wrestlers to don a Cardinal singlet.
Espericueta, also a returning NCAA qualifier, is ranked No. 20 at 149 pounds but will likely move up to wrestle at 157 pounds this season. The Shafter, Calif. native posted one of the program's all-time best rookie seasons last year, becoming the fourth-winningest freshman in school history with 25 wins and standing as one of the nation's leaders with 11 major decisions.
Stanford opens the season with wrestle-offs next Saturday at Burnham Pavilion and begins competition against Navy and Cal State Bakersfield on Nov. 8.