PHILADELPHIA –Duke redshirt senior Jacob Kasper garnered runner-up honors at heavyweight to headline a strong showing for the Blue Devils wrestling team at the Keystone Classic Sunday. Four Blue Devils overall placed among the top five with Josh Finesilver taking third to lead Duke’s rookie contingent. Duke finished ninth overall with 67 points, one point behind Harvard.
A host of Blue Devils also competed unattached at the Wolfpack Open. Mitch Finesilver remained undefeated by winning the 157-pound bracket, while Zach Finesilver was third at 165. Benjamin Anderson was sixth at 157.
Joining Kasper among the top five were Josh Finesilver in third at 133 and Matt Finesilver and Thayer Atkins in fifth at 174 and 125, respectively. The action was the first for Atkins this season, while the Finesilver brothers continue the strong starts to their careers.
Kasper, ranked sixth nationally and the No. 2 seed at the tournament, cruised through his first three matches of the day to land in the finals against third-ranked and top-seeded Nick Nevills of Penn State. The Lexington, Ohio native started the day with consecutive falls, including one that took just 48 seconds, and then breezed past 16th-ranked Conan Jennings of Northwestern, 7-1.
In a rematch with Nevills from the 2017 NCAA Championships, Kasper and the Penn State heavyweight went toe-to-toe. Nevills scored an escape late in the second period for the first point of the match. Kasper, with over one minute of riding time, tried to match Nevills’ escape, but couldn’t break through to score as his riding time ticked under a minute. Nevills tacked on two points with a nearfall to score the 3-1 victory and the Keystone Classic Crown. Kasper is now 7-1 overall on the year.
Atkins picked up two decisions – 3-0 and 7-4 – in his first two bouts before running into 12th-ranked Sebastian Rivera of Northwestern in the semifinals. Falling by major decision to Rivera to move into the consolation semifinals, Atkins dropped another tough 5-3 decision to Zack Fuentes, but rebounded with a 6-4 victory over Drexel’s Tanner Shoap for fifth place overall. Atkins finished strong in his final match of the day, sitting tied 2-2 early in the third period. The Texas native went on the offensive, scoring a pair of takedowns to come away with the 6-4 win.
At 133 and 174 pounds, rookies Josh and Matt Finesilver performed well in their toughest tests of the young season. Josh started his day against 15th-ranked Corey Keener of Penn State, falling by pin in the first period. Josh rebounded with consecutive falls and back-to-back decisions to land in the consolation semis. A medical forfeit by Keener put Duke Josh in the third-place match where he used a third-period takedown and riding time to edge Colin Valdivez of Northwestern, 5-4.
Matt had a similar run through the consolation bracket after falling to No. 2 Mark Hall of Penn State in his second bout of the afternoon. He rebounded for a pair of hard-fought decisions, including a 6-5 victory over No. 5 seed Austin Rose of Drexel. After narrowly losing to Appalachian State’s Forrest Przybysz, Matt finished his day winning by medical forfeit for fifth. He is now 9-2 overall on the year.
Redshirt junior Alec Schenk had a solid showing at 197 pounds, advancing to the quarterfinals before losing to Penn State’s Anthony Cassar. A late takedown by Rider’s Ethan Laird in the third period ended Schenk’s day with a 6-5 decision in the consolation round of eight.
Also in action, but wrestling unattached, were a host of Blue Devils at the Wolfpack Open. Mitch dominated his opponents, scoring two falls, a technical fall and a major decision before edging Cameron Coy of Virginia 2-1 to take home his second tournament title.
Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis handed Zach his first loss of the day after posting a 46-second pin in the second round. Zach rounded out his tournament with a 10-2 major decision over Max Wohlabaugh of Clarion to finish third overall.
The Blue Devils finis the calendar year at the Cliff Keen Open in Las Vegas, Dec. 1-2.