ST. LOUIS – Duke redshirt junior Jacob Kasper completed his run at the 2017 NCAA Championships, taking sixth place overall at heavyweight. With his sixth-place showing, Kasper became the third Blue Devil in program history to earn All-America honors with a place on the podium. Duke finished in 32nd place with 9.5 points.
Kasper started Session V in the consolation semifinals against No. 7 seed Tanner Hall of Arizona State. The Lexington, Ohio native went after it right from the opening whistle with a takedown in the opening seconds. He continued to ride Hall hard, but the Sun Devil escaped and then broke open the match with a takedown and four nearfall points for a 7-2 advantage.
Refusing to give up, Kasper escaped as time ticked away in the first period to make it 7-3 after the first three minutes. He added another escape to start the second stanza, but couldn’t add any more points as he entered the final period needing three points to force overtime. On top, he tried to get a turn on Hall, but couldn’t convert as Hall came away with the 8-4 decision.
In a rematch of the quarterfinal against No. 5 seed Nick Nevills, it was a similar story for Kasper as he took a 2-0 lead with a takedown in the first period. Nevills escaped to make it 2-1 and added a takedown for a 3-2 lead in the third period. Kasper escaped with just over a minute left to tie the bout and force overtime.
Kasper looked like he was going to be able to hang on in the extra session, but a last second escape from Nevills gave the Nittany Lion heavyweight the win for fifth place.
In his first season at heavyweight, Kasper went from being unranked to finishing sixth at the NCAA Championships. He went 30-6 overall to become the 13th Blue Devil to win 30 matches in a single season. He is 69-34 for his career.
Kasper’s All-America honor marks the fourth straight season a Blue Devil has finished on the podium at NCAA Championships. Duke had just one All-American prior to Hartmann’s three honors and Kasper’s one this year.