The Stanford men's water polo is predicted to finish third in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in a vote of conference coaches.
California earned the top spot with 58 points while UCLA ended up second with 55 points. Stanford recorded 54 votes while defending national champion USC is tabbed for fourth with 44 points.
The Cardinal (7-1, 21-4 last year) returns three of its top five scorers, led by All-American honorable mention junior Jacob Smith, who had 37 goals. Sophomores Travis Noll (32 goals) and Sacred Heart Prep grad Paul Rudolph (30) also return after making significant contributions All-America honorable mention Jeffrey Schwimer returns for his senior season after scoring 24 goals a year ago.
Redshirt senior driver Sage Wright is an added bonus for Stanford coach John Vargas. He was forced to sit out last season due to a knee injury. A two-time first-team All-American, Wright co-led the team with 33 goals in 2007 and increased his output to 39 goals in 2008 as Stanford reached the NCAA title game.
Vargas has a record of 169-49 (.775) and led Stanford to five national championship game appearances and one national title (2002).
Stanford alum Markus Rogan won two silver medals at the European Championships, which ended Sunday. He finished second in both 200 individual medley and the 200 back.
The Austrian native reached the finals of the 20 back with a seventh place semifinal finish, before placing second in the finals with a time of 1:57.31.
Rogan also placed amongst the top eight competitors in the 200 IM, placing second in both the semifinals and finals (1:58.03). Hungary's Laszlo Cseh led the field with a course record 1:57.73.
Rogan also reached the finals of the 100 back, with the eighth-best semifinal time, but did not compete in the finals.
Alex Tirapelle is getting closer to his home. The two-time All-American wrestler from Illinois was added to the Stanford coaching staff it was announced Monday.
Tirapelle, who spent the past two years as an assistant at UC Davis, honed his craft at Clovis High, where his father coached and his brothers starred as well.
"I am very excited to welcome Alex to our coaching staff and to the Stanford wrestling family," Stanford coach Jason Borrelli said. "There was a very large interest in the position, but it was very clear that Alex was the perfect fit for us. Growing up in a wrestling family, Alex brings a lifetime of wrestling experience and knowledge to our program, and will be a huge asset from a technical standpoint as well."
Tirapelle spent seven years at the University of Illinois as a student-athlete, graduate student and member of the academic advising staff. He finished his career as the all-time wins leader with 128, while ranking second with a .877 winning percentage.
Stanford coach John Whitlinger will be inducted into the USTA/Midwest Section Hall of Fame on Dec. 4 in Indianapolis, Ind., during the USTA/Midwest Section's 117th Annual Meeting.
A native of Neenah, Wis., Whitlinger is entering his seventh season at the helm of the Stanford program. Over the past six years, Whitlinger has led the Cardinal to a 93-52 career record and five NCAA Tournament appearances, including three straight overall.