BLACKSBURG, Va. – Duke redshirt sophomore Conner Hartmann captured his second straight berth in the NCAA Wrestling Championships today with a third-place finish at the 2014 ACC Wrestling Championships at Cassell Coliseum. Redshirt junior Immanuel Kerr-Brown also took third place overall at 157 pounds.
“It’s really good to see results,” said Kerr-Brown. “I put in a lot of hard work and it’s good to see these results. It’s tangible. I went from never placing to being third this year. I’m really happy about it.”
Hartmann grabbed one of five automatic bids awarded to the ACC at the 197-pound division, while Kerr-Brown will await word from the NCAA whether he gets one of the at-large berths. The ACC received just two automatic bids at 157 pounds. Duke finished seventh overall with 18 points.
“It’s a good feeling [knowing I’m already in NCAAs],” said Hartmann. “I went into the tournament expecting I was going to qualify. I did the same thing last year, but there was a lot more uncertainty then so it’s great not to have that this year.”
In his opening match of the day, Hartmann suffered a heart-breaking 4-3 quadruple overtime setback to No. 4 seed Zach Nye of Virginia. With both wrestlers managing a single point during regulation, the pair traded single escape points in overtime until the riding time tiebreaker decided the match. Nye started the second tiebreak overtime down and escaped quickly, giving Hartmann 10 seconds of riding time. Hartmann, needing to get out in fewer than 10 seconds took one second too many as riding time went to Nye’s favor for one second. The loss was his fourth ACC defeat by a single point this season.
Hartmann rebounded in strong fashion with a gutsy 4-3 win over No. 2 seed Nick Bonaccorsi of Pittsburgh to assure him a spot in the NCAA Championships field and set up a rematch with familiar foe Christian Boley of Maryland.
“I went into my second match and I didn’t feel very good at all,” Hartmann said. “I barely won and I was thinking ‘Oh no, this isn’t feeling good at all and my next match will be against a good guy.’ So I just decided I had to shut it all out and just wrestle like I had planned on all season.”
Wrestling for the fourth time in two seasons, this match did not disappoint as they wrestled to a 1-1 stalemate in regulation. Neither Hartmann nor Boley was able to score in the sudden victory period despite a frantic scramble in the closing seconds. After riding out the first 30 second tiebreak, Hartmann quickly escaped from Boley’s grasp and then added a takedown to seal the 4-1 victory and third place overall.
Hartmann is Duke’s 11th wrestler to earn multiple berths in the NCAA Championships and the first to do so since Konrad Dudziak in 2009 and 2010. He is the first Duke wrestler to advances to the NCAA postseason event in his first two seasons.
Kerr-Brown started his day with a strong with a 5-2 decision over Pittsburgh’s Ronnie Garbinsky to advance to the semifinals. The native of Rome, Ga., scored an early takedown and never relinquished control of the match en route to his 23rd win of the season.
In the semifinal, Kerr-Brown was looking to avenge his lone ACC loss of the season to NC State’s Thomas Gantt. The Duke captain and Gantt battled evenly but a late escape and takedown by Gantt bumped Kerr-Brown down to the consolation bracket where he outlasted Jacob Crawford 6-5 and cruised past Sal Mastriani of Virginia Tech 14-5 to earn a spot on the podium. Prior to this season, Kerr-Brown had just one win at the ACC Championship.
“It was a lot of fun to wrestle well and finish the day that way,” Kerr-Brown said of his convincing win over Mastriani. “Of course it’s always kind of cool to do it against a Virginia Tech guy at home.”
Rookies Connor Bass and Jacob Kasper both advanced to consolation semifinals as did redshirt freshman Evan Botwin in his first ACC Championships appearance. Bass narrowly missed earning one of the four bids to NCAA Championships at 149 pounds with a 3-2 decision to top-seeded Augustus Sako of Virginia.
Redshirt sophomore Trey Adamson also fell just short of having the chance to vie for a spot on the podium with an overtime loss to Austin Gabel. Adamson finished his season with an 18-13 record. Marcus Cain (165) and Brendan Walsh (285) also had their days ended in the consolation semifinals.
ACC Championships Results for Duke
133 - Evan Botwin
QF - Dennis Gustafson (VT) won by maj. decision over Evan Botwin (Duke) (MD 13-3)
Cons. Round 1 - Evan Botwin (Duke) won by fall over Brendan Calas (NC State) (Fall 1:04)
Cons. Semi - Shelton Mack (Pitt) won by major decision over Evan Botwin (Duke) (MD 17-6)
141 - Xaviel Ramos
QF - Edgar Bright (Pittsburgh) won by fall over Xaviel Ramos (Duke) (Fall 2:21)
Cons. Round 1 - Sam Speno (NC State) won by decision over Xaviel Ramos (Duke) (Dec 8-1)
149 - Connor Bass
Quarterfinal - Zach Neibert (VT) won by major decision over Connor Bass (Duke) 1-2 (MD 12-3)
Cons. Round 1 - Connor Bass (Duke) won by fall over Brian Hamann (NC State) (Fall 6:50)
Cons. Semi - Augustus Sako (Virginia) won by decision over Connor Bass (Duke) (Dec 3-2)
157 - Immanuel Kerr-Brown placed 3rd and scored 6.50 team points
QF - Immanuel Kerr-Brown (Duke) won by decision over Ronnie Garbinsky (Pitt) (Dec 5-2)
Semifinal - Thomas Gantt (NC State) won by decision over Immanuel Kerr-Brown (Duke) (Dec 7-3)
Cons. Semi - Immanuel Kerr-Brown (Duke) won by decision over Jacob Crawford (UNC) (Dec 6-5)
3rd Place - Immanuel Kerr-Brown (Duke) won by major decision over Sal Mastriani (VT) (MD 14-5)
165 - Marcus Cain
QF - Geno Morelli (Pitt) won by decision over Marcus Cain (Duke) (Dec 4-2)
Cons. Semi - Chris Moon (VT) won by major decision over Marcus Cain (Duke) (MD 10-2)
174 - Trey Adamson
QF - Pete Renda (NC State) won by decision over Trey Adamson (Duke) (Dec 7-3)
Cons. Round 1 - Trey Adamson (Duke) won by decision over Scott Marmoll (North Carolina) (Dec 7-2)
Cons. Semi - Austin Gabel (VT ) won in sudden victory - 1 over Trey Adamson (Duke) (SV-1 6-4)
184 - Jacob Kasper
QF - Nick Vetterlein (VT) won by decision over Jacob Kasper (Duke) (Dec 3-1)
Cons. Rd 1 - Jacob Kasper (Duke) won by decision over Michael Macchiavello (NC State) (Dec 4-0)
Cons. Semi - Jonathan Fausey (Virginia) won by decision over Jacob Kasper (Duke) (Dec 6-2)
197 - Conner Hartmann (19-9) placed 3rd and scored 5.00 team points
QF - Zach Nye (Virginia) won in TB-2 by riding time over Conner Hartmann (Duke) (TB-2 (RT) 4-3)
Cons. Semi - Conner Hartmann (Duke) won by decision over Nick Bonaccorsi (Pitt) (Dec 4-3)
3rd Place - Conner Hartmann (Duke) won in tie breaker - 1 over Christian Boley (Maryland) (TB-1 4-1)
285 - Brendan Walsh
QF - Patrick Tasser (Pitt) 17-9 won by major decision over Brendan Walsh (Duke) (MD 10-2)
Cons. Round 1 - Brendan Walsh (Duke) won by decision over Robert Coe (North Carolina) (Dec 10-3)
Cons. Semi - Ty Walz (Virginia Tech) won by fall over Brendan Walsh (Duke) (Fall 5:25)