ROANOKE, Va. – Duke redshirt senior Mitch Finesilver and sophomore Matt Finesilver both brought home Hokie Open titles to kick of the 2018-19 wrestling season. Mitch took the top spot at 149, while Matt captured gold at 174.
Mitch, coming off of a hard-fought match against top-ranked Matthew Kolodzik at the NWCA All-Star Classic, rebounded in outstanding fashion after a cross-country flight. He cruised through his first two matches with a pair of technical falls over Chattanooga’s Zach Shareef and Tejon Anthony of George Mason.
In the semifinals, the three-time NCAA qualifier edged UNC’s Austin O’Connor 3-2. An escape early in the second period proved to be the difference as O’Connor couldn’t score on Mitch in the third. The title match pitted the Blue Devil 149-pounder against another ACC foe. This time Mitch controlled the entire match, scoring a pair of takedowns on Virginia Tech’s Ryan Blees. The Hokie got on the board in the third with an escape, but it was all Mitch in the 6-1 victory for the crown.
At 174 pounds, Matt was looking for his second consecutive Hokie Open championship after winning the freshman and sophomore division a year ago. His path wasn’t quite as easy as Mitch’s, but the title was never in doubt as he only gave up three points in his three victories. Matt scored a first-period pin to open the action and then used consecutive decisions, including the tournament-winning one over Devin Kane of North Carolina.
Josh Finesilver was dominant in first two bouts at his new 141-pound weight. He needed only 6:19 to get past his first pair of opponents with falls. His biggest challenge game next in Rustam Ampar of Virginia. Ampar turned the tables on Josh, getting the first-period pin to send the sophomore into the consolation bracket. He returned his pinning ways en route to the fifth-place match where he cruised to a 20-11 major decision over AJ Leitten of NC State.
Sophomore Kaden Russell, competing at 184 pounds, had a solid start to the season with a 2-2 record. He won his opening bout with ease before falling to host Zack Zavatsky. The Cleveland, Ohio native bounced back with a victory, but couldn’t get further in the consolation bracket as UNC’s Chasen Blair ended his day.
The Blue Devils return to the mat Nov. 18 at the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia.