DURHAM, N.C.—With a week’s worth of rest and preparation under their belts, the Duke University wrestling duo of Conner Hartmann and Immanuel Kerr-Brown will take to the mats at the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City. Wrestling gets underway, March 20 at 11 a.m.
Where to Watch
The family of ESPN networks will broadcast the entire championship. The first three sessions will be televised by ESPNU as well as the medal round Saturday, March 22. The semifinals and championship bouts will be shown live on ESPN. All mats can be seen on ESPN3 throughout the three days. Live scoring also will be available via trackwrestling.com. All links will be available at GoDuke.com and Twitter.
How They Got There
Hartmann captured his second straight NCAA berth after picking up one of the five automatic bids with a third-place showing at the ACC Championship. The redshirt sophomore defeated ninth-ranked Christian Boley of Maryland to earn a spot on the podium. Kerr-Brown had a more nerve-wracking path to the championships as he was awarded one of the five at-large bids at 157 pounds. The Rome, Ga., native is the 35th different Blue Devil to make the NCAA postseason event and the first at 157 pounds since 1955.
About Conner Hartmann
Duke’s top wrestler at 197 pounds the past two seasons, Hartmann posted a 22-9 overall record in his second season of wrestling as a Blue Devil. The Port Orchard, Wash., native went 15-6 in duals and 5-6 against top-20 foes. He closed out the final month of the season by winning seven of his final eight bouts, including victories over the then Nos. 13, 18, and 9 ranked wrestlers. Overall, Hartmann has wrestled nine of the 33 wrestlers in his bracket, going 6-6. Hartmann is 42-20 for his career.
Scouting Immanuel Kerr-Brown
Kerr-Brown has taken big strides over the course of his career at Duke en route to qualifying for the NCAA Championships. In his first season wrestling in a Duke singlet he finished 17-20 overall and 0-5 in the ACC. He suffered seven falls and four major decisions. In 2013-14, the redshirt junior posted a 25-11 record to lead the team in wins, didn’t get pinned once and was 6-2 in major decisions. Kerr-Brown went 3-2 against ranked opponents, lost just one ACC regular season bout and went 4-0 against Big Ten foes in dual matches. His 25 wins are just four fewer than his previous two seasons combined, while his five ACC victories are two more than he had in his previous 10 bouts in conference duals. For his career, Kerr-Brown is 54-41.
Scouting Hartmann’s Competition
Hartmann will open the championships against 10th-seeded Jace Bennett of Cornell. Bennett, a junior, earned an automatic bid after winning the EIWA title at 197 pounds. He is 25-9 overall and making his second appearance in the field. The winner of that match will face the winner of seven-seed Travis Rutt of Oklahoma and Drexel’s Brandon Palik, while the loser will drop into the consolation bracket to face the loser of that match. Hartmann went 1-1 against Palik in the regular season. Hartmann also could meet ACC foe KaRonne Jones after beating him by major decision in the NC State dual.
Kerr-Brown to Face True Freshman
Kerr-Brown opens the tournament against true freshman and No. 14 seed Joseph LaVallee of Missouri. The rookie 157-pounder took third at the MAC Championships to earn an automatic bid and is 27-9 overall. Kerr-Brown could be on a collision course with Drexel’s Austin Sommer who the redshirt-junior lost to 9-8 during the regular season. Overall, Kerr-Brown has seen seven of the wrestlers in the field of 33.