DURHAM, N.C.—Duke University’s Conner Hartmann and Immanuel Kerr-Brown’s seasons will continue another week as they head to the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City March 20-22. The Blue Devils duo both received official bids to the championships today as announced by the NCAA.
Hartmann, a two-time NCAA qualifier, earned one of five automatic bids for the ACC at 197 pounds with a third-place showing at this past weekend’s championships. Kerr-Brown, on the edge of his seat waiting to see if he earned one of the 45 at-large bids, grabbed one of five at-large bids awarded at 157 pounds on the strength of his third-place finish at ACC Championships.
The Blue Devils will send multiple wrestlers to the NCAA Championships for the second straight season and for the 14th time overall. Hartmann is Duke’s 11th wrestler to earn multiple berths in the NCAA Championship and first Blue Devil to do so in his first two seasons. Kerr-Brown is Duke’s 35th different NCAA qualifier and first at 157 pounds since 1955.
A redshirt sophomore, Hartmann heads to the postseason event with a 22-9 overall record and 4-7 mark against ranked opponents. The native of Port Orchard, Wash., has wrestled nine of the 33 wrestlers, going 6-6 overall. He will face No. 10 seed Jace Bennett of Cornell in the opening match. Bennett, a junior, recently captured the EIWA title and is 25-9 overall. Bennett also will be making his second appearance in the NCAA Championships.
Kerr-Brown, Duke’s wins leader with a 25-11 mark, has taken incredible strides since arriving at Duke. He started the 2013-14 campaign with just 29 career victories and nearly doubled his total in a single season. The native of Rome, Ga., posted a 3-2 mark against ranked opponents during the regular season and has faced seven wrestlers in the NCAA Championships field. He will wrestle No. 14 seed Joseph LaVallee of Missouri in his first bout. LaVallee, a true freshman, earned an automatic bid after taking third at the MAC Championships. He is 27-9 overall on the year with seven pins.
Fans can catch every match of the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships at Chesapeake Energy Arenathrough the ESPN family of networks. ESPNU will televise action the first three sessions and the semifinals and finals will be shown by ESPN. All of the action can be followed on ESPN3.