BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Duke scored crucial bonus points in three of its five victories to upend Gardner-Webb 23-22 in non-conference wrestling action tonight at Paul Porter Arena. The Blue Devils used a pair of pins and technical falls to avenge last year’s loss to the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Duke improves to 4-6 overall on the year, while Gardner-Webb drops to 5-7. It was a match of runs of sorts as the Blue Devils won four of the first five bouts and the Runnin’ Bulldogs garnered four of the final five.
The match started at 197 pounds with the Runnin’ Bulldogs coming away with a hard-fought 5-3 decision for the early 3-0 team lead. Gardner-Webb’s lead was short-lived as Jacob Kasper came out and made quick work of Boyce Cornwell in a 17-0 technical fall at heavyweight and lift Duke to a 5-3 lead.
Kasper, ranked fourth nationally, scored a four-point nearfall right off the opening whistle and never looked back to earn his 18th straight victory and 24th of the season. It was his seventh bonus point dual win of the year and fourth straight.
Duke continued to pile on the points, winning each of the next three matches with bonus points to open a big 19-3 lead midway through the dual. Thayer Atkins came out to the mat at 125 and got the 7-3 decision over Landon LoAlbo to garner his career-best 18th win of the year and extend the Blue Devil lead to six points.
Cole Baumgartner and Zach Finesilver both made quick work of their opponents at 133 and 141, respectively. Riding a three match win streak of his own, Baumgartner put Philip Anderson on the defensive early and led 8-0 after the opening three minutes. He continued to add to his total and was able to Anderson flat on his back with 52 seconds left for his third pin of the year.
Finesilver followed suit at 141 as he pinned Ryan Hull in 4:12 after a dominant first period. The pin was his fourth of the season and second straight. He is now 14-8 on the year and 7-3 in duals.
After the Runnin’ Bulldogs got four points back with a major decision at 149, Duke senior Jake Faust battled his way to a 2-0 decision over Ryan Mosley to put the Blue Devils back up 16 points, 23-7. The Ohio native, after a scoreless first period, got his leg in on top in the second and rode out the entire period for two minutes of riding time. He escaped in the third to make it a 1-0 match and held off a charge from Moseley down the stretch.
Gardner-Webb picked up stream down the stretch, recording pins at 165 and 174 to make it a four-point match. Needing a technical fall for the win and a major decision to force criteria, Hunter Gamble took on Duke’s Alec Schenk. Gamble grabbed the early 2-0 lead, but he was unable to add to his score against the Blue Devil 184-pounder, managing just a 4-1 decision to leave the Runnin’ Bulldogs one point short in the final team score.
Duke returns to action at home Sunday, Feb. 5 against Virginia. The dual is set to start at 2 p.m., in Card Gymnasium. The Blue Devils will honor their five seniors prior to the match.
Duke 23, Gardner-Webb 22
197: Kyle Ash (GWU) dec. Luke Farinaro (Duke), 5-3 | Duke 0, GWU 3
285: No. 4 Jacob Kasper (Duke) tech fall Boyce Cornwell (GWU), 17-0, 4:44 | Duke 5, GWU 3
125: Thayer Atkins (Duke) dec. Landon LoAlbo (GWU), 7-3 | Duke 8, GWU 3
133: Cole Baumgartner (Duke) fall Philip Anderson (GWU), 4:08 | Duke 14, GWU 3
141: Zach Finesilver (Duke) fall Dallas Roemer (GWU), 4:12 | Duke 20, GWU 3
149: Chris Vassar (GWU) major dec. Xaviel Ramos (Duke), 11-0 | Duke 20, GWU 7
157: Jake Faust (Duke) dec. Ryan Mosley (GWU), 2-0 | Duke 23, GWU 7
165: Tyler Marinelli (GWU) fall Garrett Neff (Duke), 3:23 | Duke 23, GWU 13
174: Austin Trott (GWU) fall No. 17 Connor Bass (Duke), 3:11 | Duke 23, GWU 19
184: Hunter Gamble (GWU) dec. Alec Schenk (Duke), 4-1 | Duke 23, GWU 22