photos courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
A new feature that we have had on TOM is the “All-2000’s Team” for a respective school. We will go weight-by-weight to feature the best lineup that a team could put together comprised of wrestlers that were in action from the year 2000 to now. Their career could have started in the 1990’s; they just need to have one year of competition in the 2000’s. Each wrestler that is mentioned must have competed for one postseason at their weight class (even if it wasn’t the weight they were most known for).
125 – Tanner Gardner (Berryton, KS) 2003-08
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Three-time All-American (2008-5th; 2007-7th; 2006-8th), Two-time Pac-10 Champion, Three-time Pac-10 finalist
The Stanford record book had to be rewritten at the conclusion of Tanner Gardner’s career. Gardner is their all-time leader in wins (145), wins in a season (43), and pins in a single season (19). On the way to a fifth-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Championships, Gardner defeated future All-Americans Anthony Robles (Arizona State), Brandon Precin (Northwestern) and Charlie Falck (Iowa).
Second Team: Connor Schram
133 – Ryan Mango (St. Louis, MO) 2009-14
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2012-5th; 2011-6th), 2014 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Two-time Pac-12 Champion
Ryan Mango spent the first three years of his career at 125 lber, where he would AA twice, before redshirting and going up to 133 lbs. While redshirting, Mango won a Midlands Championship, and to do so, he defeated two future Olympians, Jesse Thielke (Wisconsin) in the semi’s, and Dan Dennis (Iowa) in the finals.
Second Team: Zach Zimmerer
141 – Joey McKenna (Towaco, NJ) 2015-17
Total: Three-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2018-3rd, 2016-3rd), 2017 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Three-time Conference Champion
Stanford Total: Two-time NCAA Qualifier, 2016 NCAA Third-Place finisher, 2017 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Two-time Pac-12 Champion
Even though Joey McKenna transferred to Ohio State, his two years in Palo Alto are enough to warrant recognition on this team. While at Stanford he captured a pair of Pac-12 titles and finished third in the nation, as a freshman. In his two seasons wrestling for the Cardinal, McKenna was seeded second (Fr) and third (So) at nationals.
Second Team: Brad Metzler
149 – Matt Gentry (Grants Pass, OR) 2001-05
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2004 NCAA Champion, Two-time NCAA Round of 12 finisher, 2004 Pac-10 Champion, Three-time Pac-10 finalist
Since Matt Gentry competed as a freshman at 149 lbs, we’re able to fit both him and Josh Zupancic on the squad. In 2004, Gentry became the first NCAA Champion in school history. He upset the defending champion Ryan Bertin (Michigan) in the semi’s, before defeating Jake Percival (Ohio) 4-2. Gentry put together a school-record 64 match winning streak that spanned his championship-winning season into his senior year. After college Matt went on to wrestle in two Olympic Games while representing Canada.
Second Team: Garrett Schaner
157 – Josh Zupancic (Akron, OH) 2004-08
Two-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2008-6th; 2007-7th), 2007 Pac-10 runner-up
Though he only qualified for nationals twice, Zupancic took full advantage of his opportunities, getting on the podium in both seasons. In his senior campaign, Zupancic made a run to the NCAA semifinals after coming in as the 12th seed. His junior year, Josh secured All-American honors after knocking off the eighth, ninth, and tenth seeds, while he was unseeded.
Second Team: Paul Fox
165 – Jim Wilson (Lodi, CA) 2013-17
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2015 NCAA Eighth-Place finisher, 2016 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Three-time Pac-12 Champion
Jim Wilson’s 35 wins during his first season in the lineup tied Gentry for second on the Stanford list for wins by a freshman. That same season he was also named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, which was only the third time a Stanford wrestler earned the honor. In 2016, Wilson became the first Cardinal wrestler to win three conference championships and just the second wrestler to win conference titles in each of his first two seasons.
Second Team: Ray Blake
174 – Nick Amuchastegui (Talent, OR) 2008-12
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Three-time All-American (2012-2nd; 2011-2nd; 2010-4th), Two-time Pac-10/12 Champion, Three-time Pac-10/12 finalist
The 2012 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Nick Amuchastegui earned the honor after his back-to-back NCAA Finals appearances in 2011 and 2012. On both occasions, Nick ran into an undefeated buzzsaw in the finals (Jon Reader-Iowa State 2011 and Ed Ruth-Penn State 2012). Amuchastegui’s first trip to the All-American stand saw him defeat Nick Marable (Missouri), Colt Sponseller (Ohio State), Ryan Morningstar (Iowa), and Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma) while unseeded at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
Second Team: Keaton Subjeck
184 – Zack Giesen (Grants Pass, OR) 2006-11
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2011 NCAA Sixth-Place finisher, 2011 Pac-10 Champion, Two-time Pac-10 finalist
After three trips to the NCAA Championships, Zack Giesen moved up in weight for his senior season which ended up being his best on the Farm. Zack won his only Reno TOC and Pac-10 titles, which led to a 12th seed at the 2011 NCAA Championships. Giesen’s 110 career wins are good for sixth on the school’s all-time list.
Second Team: Zach Nevills
197 – Luke Feist (Sandpoint, ID) 2005-09
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, 2008 Pac-12 finisher
Luke Feist spent his first three years competing at 165 and 174 lbs before moving up to 197 as a senior. Feist saw his best success at 197 winning 24 matches, eleven of which were by fall. He notched two wins at the 2009 NCAA Championships, which was also a career high.
Second Team: Nathan Traxler
285 – Nathan Butler (Leavenworth, KS) 2014-18
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2018 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, 2015 Pac-12 Champion, Three-time Pac-12 finalist
Nathan Butler just completed his career in the 2017-18 season losing a match shy of earning All-American honors. Throughout his time competing, Butler always was in the middle of some deep Pac-12 weight classes. After his redshirt freshman season, Butler represented the United States at the Junior World Championships and brought home a bronze medal at the 120 kg weight class.
Second Team: Dan Scherer