DURHAM, N.C.—The Duke University wrestling team held its annual end-of-season banquet this past weekend, honoring the student-athletes for their work inside and outside the wrestling room. The Blue Devils finished the season 9-10 overall and sent a pair of wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, the first time multiple Duke wrestlers qualified since 2009.
Redshirt sophomore Brandon Gambucci earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler award, while redshirt freshman Conner Hartmann garnered the Most Outstanding Freshman honor. Redshirt senior Peter Terrezza took home the team’s Scholar Athlete Award and redshirt sophomore Immanuel Kerr-Brown and junior Brian Self both were selected as Most Improved.
Gambucci, a NCAA qualifier at 133 pounds, captured All-ACC honors with a runner-up finish at the ACC Championship. He compiled a 20-8 overall record and was one of four Duke wrestlers to post at least 20 wins. Gambucci placed among the top three at the Keystone Classic and ACC Championship and posted a 12-3 record in dual matches. He was selected as the ACC Wrestler of the Week following and upset victory over No. 24 Sam Speno at NC State. The Mansfield, Ohio native led all Blue Devils with seven pins, six of which came in the opening period, and sports a 43-19 career record.
Hartmann joined Gambucci at the NCAA Championships, earning an at-large bid following his third-place finish at 197 pounds at the ACC Championships. Sporting a 17-10 overall record, the Port Orchard, Wash., native rebounded from a midseason injury to earn a spot on the podium at the conference championship. Hartmann opened the year by winning the Hokie Open and proceeded to place in the Michigan State Open, the Keystone Classic and Southern Scuffle before getting suffering an injury. Seeded fourth at the ACC Championship, Hartmann lost a narrow match to No. 2 seed Derrick Borlie of Virginia Tech to take third overall.
Enrolled in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and pursuing a Master of Management Studies degree, Terrezza completed a solid career with the Blue Devils this past season. Wrestling at 125 pounds throughout his career, the New Providence, N.J., native compiled a 7-18 record his final season and completes his career with a 63-63 overall mark. He earned All-ACC Academic Team honors twice in the three previous seasons and is a four-time ACC Academic Honor Roll recipient.
Kerr-Brown and Self both were recognized for their outstanding improvement over the course of the season. Kerr-Brown started the year wrestling unattached and placed in three tournaments, including capturing the Ashland Open, before returning the full lineup at the Southern Scuffle. Overall, the Rome, Ga., native posted a 27-15 overall record and a 12-10 mark when wearing a Duke singlet. He was 7-6 in dual matches and posted a 3-2 mark against ACC foes. After dropping six of his first eight matches with Duke, Kerr-Brown came back and won five straight and nine of 11 bouts overall.
Self, a 197-pounder for Duke the previous two seasons, stepped up for the Blue Devils to fill the vacant heavyweight spot. A native of Oklahoma City, Self finished the year 13-20 overall and placed fifth at the Keystone Classic and fourth at the ACC Championships. Despite giving up many pounds to his opponents at heavyweight, he battled and ultimately came up with huge wins for Duke over the course of the year. He garnered narrow victories over Appalachian State and VMI to help the Blue Devils secure dual wins and posted an ACC victory over rival North Carolina. Seeded fifth in the ACC Championships, he upset the No. 3 seed to earn a spot in the consolation final where he eventually lost to the fourth seed from NC State.
Duke, under the direction of Glen Lanham, finished the year with a 9-10 overall record and a 1-4 mark in ACC competition. The Blue Devils advanced two wrestlers to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2009, while the nine wins were the most since 2008-09 campaign.