WASHINGTON, D.C.—Duke redshirt senior Conner Hartmann registered another first-period fall to help lead the Blue Devils to a narrow 19-16 win over Columbia in non-conference wrestling action at Bender Arena. Five Blue Devils garnered wins in the victory over the Lions.
Duke sophomore Thayer Atkins, wrestling for the first time in over a month, got the morning started on the right foot with a decision over Vince Pallone at 125 pounds to put Duke (3-5) ahead 3-0. Atkins, after a scoreless first period, scored a takedown in the second period to pull ahead and iced the victory in the third session for his seventh win of the year.
After Columbia (7-3) answered with a major decision to go ahead 4-3, Blue Devil redshirt freshman Zach Finesilver countered with an 8-0 major decision over Joe Moita to launch Duke back in front 7-4. Zach was dominant from the opening whistle, getting an early takedown and then added a four-point nearfall in the final seconds en route to his 17th win of the year.
Mitch Finesilver followed suit at 149 pounds, upending Columbia’s Dan Reed by a narrow 6-4 decision. Heading into the third period all even at 4-4, 12th-ranked Finesilver scored the winning takedown in the final minute of the bout to secure his 19th victory of the year and put the Blue Devils up 10-4.
The Lions roared back in front 13-10 with three consecutive wins to set up an exciting finish. Markus Scheidel edged Connor Bass in a rematch from the Hokie Open at 157 pounds, while Tyrel White used a big third period to upset No. 18 Jake Faust at 165.
Trey Adamson put the Blue Devils back on track with a hard-fought 3-1 decision over Mike Fetchet at 184. After a scoreless first two periods, Adamson got the reversal with just under a minute left in the period for the 2-0 lead. Fetchet escaped with 23 seconds to go, but wasn’t able to get a takedown as Adamson had riding time for the 3-1 win.
Hartmann came up huge for the Blue Devils at 197 pounds, scoring another first-period fall, to give Duke the 19-13 lead heading into the final bout. The nation’s fifth-ranked wrestler scored a takedown of Troy Hembury in the first 50 seconds and just over a minute later had Hembury on his back for the pin. The fall was his fifth of the year and third straight in a dual. He has scored 38 points for the Blue Devils in duals this season.
Columbia picked up a decision at heavyweight, but the fall from Hartmann proved to be the difference.
The match was the first of two for the Blue Devils on the day as they wrestle American at 11 a.m.