Nov. 1, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. - The Stanford wrestling team enters 2011-12 coming off arguably the most successful season in program history. The Cardinal returns two All-Americans and 12 letterwinners to its roster of 25. Under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Jason Borrelli, Stanford will continue to be a national contender and produce some of the top wrestlers in the nation.
Last season, Stanford went 9-9-1 in dual competition and finished fourth at the Pac-10 Championships in Corvallis, Ore. The Cardinal generated three top-three place winners at the conference tournament and sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in Philadelphia, Pa. The Cardinal placed a program-best 11th overall at the championships. Additionally, Stanford produced three All-Americans in one season for the first time ever.
Among Stanford's five returning starters are two All-Americans - senior Nick Amuchastegui and junior Ryan Mango. The pair has combined to win 15 NCAA Tournament matches and three All-America honors. Amuchastegui's runner-up finish in 2011 was the second-best mark in school history, and was the highest finish by a Stanford wrestler since former Cardinal Matt Gentry's NCAA title in 2004.
"We have high expectations for this season," explained Borrelli. "We want to keep moving this program forward, so our goal is to finish higher at the national tournament than we did last season. We also want to put a big emphasis on our dual schedule and qualify several guys to the NCAA Championships."
Stanford will depend on its veterans to provide experience and leadership for the team during the upcoming season. Amuchastegui's 94 career wins already ranks in the top-10 in school history and the senior is on pace to finish his time on The Farm in the top three. The Talent, Ore., native led the team last year with 31 wins, including a 15-1 mark in dual competition. Mango posted 26 wins last season and an 11-1 record in duals. He strung together 14 consecutive wins, which tied Amuchastegui for the most on the team and was the 10th-best streak in program history.
"It is hard to find a leader like Nick [Amuchastegui]," said Borrelli. "He does all the right things - academically, athletically, socially - he does everything right and he is an unbelievable leader. He holds his teammates accountable and expects a lot out them. He leads by example, but can also be a very vocal leader for us as well. He is everything a coach could ask for."
In addition to Amuchastegui and Mango, three other 2011 Pac-10 placewinners return for Stanford - junior 149-pounder Timmy Boone, sophomore 157-pounder Kyle Meyer and sophomore heavyweight Dan Scherer. Boone recorded 16 wins last season, including three falls and two technical falls. Meyer, who wrestled at 157 pounds and 165 pounds in 2010-11, registered a 16-12 overall record as a redshirt freshman. Scherer, who placed at 184 pounds at last year's conference championships, tallied 21 wins and led the team with six falls as a rookie.
The Cardinal also boasts a talented recruiting class of 10 freshmen who will all compete for time in the lineup in 2011-12. Five of the 10 newcomers were state champions, including Josh Lauderdale (Washington), Alex Manley (Tennessee), Alex Paraschuk (Florida), Evan Silver (Maryland) and Michael Sojka (Illinois). Additionally, the new faces on the Cardinal roster include Joey Beck (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Dahlton Brown (Jackson, Calif.), Jordan Bryan (Los Angeles, Calif.), Mark Phillips (St. Louis, Mo.) and Brendan Ter Wee (Larchwood, Iowa).
"I am really excited for some of the guys who came in this class under the radar," stated Borrelli. "Guys like Josh Lauderdale, Brendan Ter Wee, Dahlton Brown and Alex Paraschuk, those guys are working really hard to prepare for the season. All around, I have been super impressed with the attitudes and efforts of this freshmen class."
The coaching staff, which includes assistants Ray Blake, Vic Moreno and Alex Tirapelle, will be challenged to lead the team through a difficult schedule in 2011-12. The Cardinal will wrestle in 16 duals and compete in some of the nation's most competitive collegiate tournaments. The regular-season dual schedule includes seven opposing teams ranked in the preseason top-40 of the InterMat Poll. The team opens the year on the road on November 5 at Northwestern. The dual will be held at Marist High School in Chicago. In December, the Cardinal will compete at the Reno Tournament of Champions and the prestigious Midlands Tournament in Evanston, Ill. In January, Stanford will host four duals and take on the heart of its Pac-12 schedule. The team will participate at the 2011 Pac-12 Championship in Boise, Id., at the end of February. A strong showing at the conference meet will qualify individuals for the NCAA Championships held in St. Louis, Mo., from March 15-17, 2012.
"We were very selective with who we are wrestling this season," said Borrelli. "Our schedule includes high quality opponents. We have a very competitive dual meet slate. I think we have a good balance of tournaments and duals this year to prepare us for the national tournament."
The following is a look at the 2011-12 Cardinal by weight class:
With 2011 All-American Ryan Mango moving up a weight class this season, junior Matt Sencenbaugh will likely take over the starting spot at 125 pounds. He holds a career record of 21-40, but was a Pac-10 placewinner as a rookie in 2008-09. Last season, he competed at both 125 pounds and 133 pounds, securing a 10-15 overall record at 13 dual points. Freshman Evan Silver will challenge Sencenbaugh for the starting spot this season. Silver is a four-time Maryland state champion out of Blaire Academy, where he was the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the nation at 112 pounds in 2010.
Junior Ryan Mango, who garnered his first career All-America honors at 125 pounds in 2011, will move up to 133 pounds this season. Mango, who boasts a career record of 51-22 and a 23-8 career mark in duals, begins the year ranked No. 7 in the nation by InterMat.com. Last season, Mango posted a 26-7 overall record and was second on the team with 43 dual points. Despite suffering a knee injury at the Lone Star Duals in mid-January, Mango returned to wrestle at the Pac-10 Championships at the end of February. He finished fourth at 125 pounds and automatically qualified for the NCAA Tournament, where he placed sixth and became the 16th All-American in school history. Freshman Jordan Bryan, who hails from Los Angeles, Calif., will add depth to the position.
The 141-pound spot in this season's line-up is up for grabs after last year's starter, Jordan Gray, is no longer with the team. Sophomore Donovan Halpin will likely begin the season as the starter. The Petaluma, Calif., native was 4-5 overall in his rookie season. He will be challenged by two incoming freshmen - Alex Manley and Alex Paraschuk. Manley is a two-time Tennessee state champion out of the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn. He holds the Tennessee state record for wins with 229. Paraschuk is also a two-time state champion out of Riverdale High School in Fort Myers, Fla.
Junior Timmy Boone will begin the 2011-12 season as the starter at 149 pounds. He registered 16 wins last season and placed fourth at the Pac-10 Championships. True freshman Josh Lauderdale will challenge Boone for time in the lineup this season. Lauderdale, who hails from Nine Mile Falls, Wash., is a state champion out of Lakeside High School. He boasted a 129-22 record during his prep career and registered 74 pins. Another freshman, Joey Beck, will add depth to the weight class.
Stanford returns several veterans in one of its deepest weight classes. Junior Mike Kent and sophomore Garrett Schaner will likely compete for the starting spot to open the season. Kent posted an 11-7 record last season at 157 pounds and a 3-2 mark in duals. Schaner, who started his rookie season at 157 pounds, also saw action at 165 pounds last year. He finished with a 9-18 record overall. Another veteran, sophomore Kyle Meyer, will also push for time in the lineup. The Monett, Mo., native began last season at 165 pounds, but dropped down to 157 and finished fourth at the Pac-10 Championships.
Redshirt freshman Matt Schneider will start the season as the starter at 165 pounds. Adding depth to the weight are redshirt sophomore Bret Baumbach and junior Kyler Hasson. Baumbach redshirted the 2010-11 season and went 3-2 at the Fullerton Open wrestling unattached. Hasson will drop down a weight this year. He was 1-1 last season wrestling at 174 pounds behind NCAA All-American Nick Amuchastegui.
Senior Nick Amuchastegui, a two-time NCAA All-American, is the top-ranked wrestler in the nation at 174 pounds. He was the NCAA runner-up in 2011 and led the team with a 31-4 overall record. He posted a 15-1 mark in duals last year and finished as the Pac-10 runner-up at the conference championships. His 94 career wins are the 10th most in school history. He will be looked upon to lead the Cardinal in 2011-12 and vie for an NCAA championship.
Junior Spence Patrick will nab the starting spot at 184 pounds this season. He tallied an 8-12 record last season and is 19-20 overall in his Cardinal career. Freshman Mark Phillips will challenge Patrick for a spot in the lineup. Phillips, who hails from St. Louis, Mo., was a three-time state medalist out of the Hancock Place school.
With the departure of senior All-American Zack Giesen, the 197 pound starting position is up for grabs this season. Sophomore Alan Yen will likely start the year in the lineup. He was 8-16 as a rookie, wrestling at both 197 pounds and heavyweight. Redshirt sophomore Richard Kessler will challenge Yen for the starting spot. He was 17-18 overall as a rookie in 2009-10, and did not compete for the Cardinal last year. True freshman Michael Sojka will push both Yen and Kessler for time on the mat this season. Sojka is a two-time state champion out of Winnebago High School in Winnebago, Ill. He holds hit high school's record for wins, pins and takedowns.
Stanford will have a new face at heavyweight this season as senior Dylan Rush has since graduated. Sophomore Dan Scherer, who wrestled at both 184 pounds and 197 pounds last season, will move up this season. He was 21-13 overall and led the team with six falls last year. Scherer will be challenged by a pair of freshman this season - Dahlton Brown and Brendan Ter Wee. Brown, a native of Jackson, Calif., is the first wrestler in Argonaut High School history to be a four-time conference champion. Ter Wee is a two-time state placer out of West Lyon High School in Larchwood, Iowa. He holds the school record for most wins in a single season.