ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Duke and Navy wrestling teams battled tooth and nail down to the final whistle Sunday afternoon with the Blue Devils coming up just short against the Midshipmen at Wesley Brown Field House. Duke tied the match 17-17 with a win at heavyweight, but Navy walked away with the win based on the third tiebreaker of total points in the dual, 66-60.
Navy (10-1) held a narrow 17-13 lead over the Blue Devils after nine bouts, leaving redshirt junior heavyweight Jacob Kasper a chance to give Duke (2-5) the victory with a technical fall or pin. Navy heavyweight Thomas Ott knew he could not give up many points or let Kasper get to his offense successfully if the Mids were to come away with the win.
The two big men leaned on each other throughout much of the bout with Kasper trying to get Ott to the mat. Ott did well to defend against the nation’s No. 6 heavyweight, but was whistled for stalling four times. Kasper, leading 4-1 after an escape and three stall points from Ott, finally scored a takedown and picked up four nearfall points, but time expired just seconds before Kasper would have gotten Ott flat on his back for the pin. The 10-1 major decision resulted in the 17-17 score with criteria required to break it. The win was the 21st for Kasper and marked his fourth dual win with bonus points.
Prior to the thrilling finish, Duke jumped out in front with victories from Thayer Atkins and Cole Baumgartner at 125 and 133, respectively. Atkins went on the offensive right away against Brant Leadbeter for a 4-1 lead. The Navy 125-pounder battled back to tie it, but Atkins dominated the action through the second and third periods to score his fifth dual victory and 16th overall win of the year.
Baumgartner, looking to stop his two-match skid, battled through a tough one with Cody Lambert. The Blue Devil senior led 3-2 after the first period and stretched it to 6-2 in the third before Lambert made a late push in the final minute of action, to pull within two. Baumgartner escaped to bring it back to a three-point match and held off for the final 30 seconds to earn his 14th win of the season.
Navy answered with a last-second nearfall major decision from No. 20 Jared Prince at 141 pounds and a 9-5 decision at 149 pounds to tie the bout 7-7.
Jake Faust came out at 157 pounds and put the Blue Devils back on top by besting Zach Elvin in a 4-0 decision. The Duke senior scored the match’s lone takedown with two seconds left in the first period and used an escape in the second and rode out the third to get his third dual win and 53rd career victory.
Consecutive victories at 165 and 174 launched the Midshipmen in front 14-10, their largest lead of the afternoon. A rematch from the Southern Scuffle between Duke’s Connor Bass and Navy’s Jadean Bernstein at 174 didn’t disappoint. Ranked 15th and 17th, respectively, Bernstein avenged his loss to Bass earlier in the month, outscoring the Duke senior by an 8-3 score.
Alec Schenk brought the Blue Devils back to within one, 14-13, collecting his fourth dual win of the year at 184. Tied with Michael Coleman after two periods, Schenk escaped to open the third and stretched the lead to three with a takedown to ice the victory late in the final stanza.
Navy’s Steban Cervantes made it a four-point match and led to the heart-stopping ending with a 6-2 decision over Duke sophomore Luke Farinaro at 197.
The Blue Devils’ grueling January schedule continues Jan. 25 at Old Dominion. That match is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
Final: Duke 17, Navy 17 *Navy wins by 3rd tie-breaker criteria of total points (66-60)
125 | Thayer Atkins major dec over Brant Leadbeter (NAVY), 15-7 | Duke 4, Navy 0
133 | Cole Baumgartner dec over Cody Lambert (NAVY), 7-4 | Duke 7, Navy 0
141 | #20 Jared Prince (NAVY) major dec over #Zach Finesilver, 15-4 | Duke 7, Navy 4
149 | Corey Wilding (NAVY) dec over Xaviel Ramos, 9-5 | Duke 7, Navy 7
157 | Jake Faust dec over Zach Elvin (NAVY), 4-0 | Duke 10, Navy 7
165 | Drew Daniels (NAVY) major dec over Garrett Neff, 12-4 | Duke 10, Navy 11
174 | #17 Jadaen Bernstein (NAVY) dec over #15 Connor Bass, 8-3 | Duke 10, Navy 14
184 | Alec Schenk dec over Michael Coleman (NAVY), 6-4 | Duke 13, Navy 14
197 | Steban Cervantes (NAVY) dec over Luke Farinaro, 6-2 | Duke 13, Navy 17
285 | #6 Jacob Kasper major dec over Thomas Ott (NAVY), 10-1 | Duke 17, Navy 17*