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Courtesy: Geoffrey Riccio
3 Blue Devils Advance to Day 2 at NCAA Championships
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/15/2018
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Session II Recap

CLEVELAND, Ohio –Duke University redshirt senior Jacob Kasper used a takedown in overtime to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena Thursday evening. Mitch Finesilver and Matt Finesilver join Kasper in advancing to day two of competition, a record three for the Duke program.

Duke sits in a tie for 25th place with seven points. Ohio State holds the team lead with 36 and Penn State is second at 28.5.

Kasper moved one step closer to history, best Purdue’s Shawn Streck 4-2 in overtime for his record-tying 36th win this season. The second-round match between Kasper and Streck was on the opposite end of the spectrum – Kasper beat Streck 15-0 in December –  as the pair went scoreless through the first period. Kasper notched the first point of the bout with an escape, but neither wrestler was able to score again until a takedown by Streck early in the third put the Boilermaker heavyweight in the lead 2-1.

Kasper evened the score 2-2 and needed little time to record the takedown in the sudden victory overtime to put him one win from the top spot in the Duke records book. He is now 105-36 overall for his career, ranking tied for second among Blue Devil wrestlers.  

Matt, in a rematch with Seldon Wright of Old Dominion, needed an escape and a takedown in the third period to keep his season alive. Wright nearly got a takedown with three seconds remaining in the second period, but Matt was able to kick out of it and head into the final two minutes in a scoreless tie. Wright opted to let Matt escape, giving the rookie the 1-0 lead. Matt added a takedown in the final 50 seconds to secure his 26th win of the year. He will wrestle No. 15 seed Dylan Lydy of Purdue Friday.

The championship second round at 157 pounds featured Duke’s No. 12 seed Mitch Finesilver against fifth-seeded Alec Pantaleo of Michigan. The Wolverine All-American took a 2-0 lead late in the first period before Mitch escaped in the second to make it 2-1.

Pantaleo tacked on a third point with an escape in the third and was able to do just enough to escape Mitch’s shots and not get whistled for a third stalling call to secure the 3-2 victory and land in the quarterfinals. Mitch will wrestle No. 11 seed Clayton Ream of North Dakota State University.

Zach Finesilver started the evening session for the Blue Devils with a commanding 11-4 decision over May Bethea of Penn in the wrestleback preliminary match at 165 pounds. Bethea scored first to take a 2-0 lead, but an escape and quick takedown gave Zach the lead for good as he cruised to his 12th win of the year.

The redshirt junior saw his tournament run come to an end in his next match as he fell to Andrew Fogarty by a 5-1 decision. Zach, bumping up from 141 pounds last year, finishes the year with a 12-13 overall record and an ACC runner-up finish.

Josh Finesilver also saw his outstanding rookie season come to a close with a 19-8 setback to West Virginia’s Matthew Schmitt. The loss left Josh with a 20-21 record in his first collegiate wrestling season. He and brothers Matt and Mitch are three of Duke’s five true freshman to qualify for the NCAA Championships in program history.

Session three begins Friday at 11 a.m., on ESPNU. The evening session starts at 8 p.m., on ESPN. Every match is available on the ESPN app or

Session I Recap

CLEVELAND, OHIO – A pair of Blue Devils advance in the championship round of the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships to highlight Session I of the three-day event. Mitch Finesilver and Jacob Kasper both grabbed wins to stay in the championship side of their brackets.

With a record-matching five Duke wrestlers qualifying for the NCAA Championships, Duke sits in a tie for 20th place with five points. Josh Finesilver, Matt Finesilver and Zach Finesilver all dropped hard-fought first-round bouts to move down to the consolation portion of their brackets.

Heavyweight Jacob Kasper led the way for the Blue Devils, scoring his eighth fall of the season with 32 seconds remaining in the match to beat Fresno State’s AJ Nevills. After a scoreless first period, Kasper escaped in the second and added two nearfall points after a big lift and mat return. The Ohio native continued to look to score in the final period and was able to get Nevills on his back for his 35th win of the season.

Kasper will wrestle Purdue’s Shawn Streck in the second round as he looks to tie the Duke single-season wins mark. The two faced each other earlier this season with Kasper posting the 15-0 technical fall at the Cliff Keen Invitational.

Josh opened the day for the Blue Devils against No. 16 seed Mitch McKee of Minnesota. The rookie 133-pounder battled tough throughout the seven minutes, falling 10-6. Trailing 10-5 after two periods, Josh rode out the second period, earning a stalling point, but was unable to turn McKee to add to the scoreboard. He will wrestle Matthew Schmitt of West Virginia in the consolation round Thursday evening.

The No. 12 overall seed in the 157-pound bracket, Mitch Finesilver had no trouble with his opening match. The redshirt junior grabbed an early 2-0 lead less than a minute in and cruised through to a 12-3 major decision over Casey Sparkman of Kent State. He will wrestle No. 5 seed Alec Pantaleo of Michigan Thursday evening for a spot in the quarterfinal round.

Zach Finesilver, in his third meeting with Virginia Tech’s David McFadden, performed well but could not get to his offense against the No. 2 seed at 165 in a 4-0 loss. Zach will open Session II in the wrestleback preliminary match against Penn’s May Bethea. The winner will wrestle again in an effort to return for day two of action.

Matt Finesilver, up against the 174-pound bracket’s top seed in Zahid Valencia of Arizona State, wrestled hard in a 14-4 setback. The true freshman will have a rematch against Old Dominion’s Seldon Wright in the consolation bracket. Matt edged Wright 4-3 during the regular season dual.

Session II starts at 7 p.m., with the wrestleback preliminary matches. It includes the wrestleback first round and championship second round. It will be televised live on ESPN.