LAS VEGAS –Duke wrestling redshirt senior Mitch Finesilver continued his stellar start to the 2018-19 season, advancing to the semifinals at the Cliff Keen Invitational at the Las Vegas Convention Center Friday. Matt Finesilver joins Mitch in advancing to day two of competition of the prestigious tournament.
Duke sits in 27th place with 21.5 points, while Missouri tops the list with 77 points. The Blue Devils placed a pair of wrestlers in day two for the first time in program history. In 2017, Jacob Kasper became the first Duke wrestler to land on the podium at the tournament.
The Blue Devils had a solid showing in the first session to start the day as three Blue Devils advanced to the session two in the evening. Mitch Finesilver and Matt Finesilver both remained in the championship bracket, while sophomore Kaden Russell punched his ticket to the night with a win in the consolation bracket after losing in the round of 16.
Matt Finesilver, seeded eighth at 174 pounds, cruised through his opening matches. Competing in a pigtail match, the sophomore standout put Harvard’s Kyle Bierdumpfel on his back early in the second period to score the fall. He followed that with a 19-2 technical fall in the next round and had little trouble overall in a 5-2 decision for a chance to match up against third-ranked and the bracket’s No. 1 seed Myles Amine of Michigan.
In the quarterfinal match, Amine proved to be just a little too much for Matt. The Wolverine handed the Blue Devil a 10-5 setback. It was 4-2 Amine after the first period as he continued to add to his lead en route to the decision. Matt, ranked 19th, will go up against 18th-ranked Kimball Bastian of Utah Valley.
The top-seeded Blue Devil at No. 5 at 149 pounds, Mitch Finesilver was in full control in his early matches, dispatching Oklahoma’s Davion Jeffries 5-1 and No. 12 seed Jared Prince of Navy 7-3 for a spot in the quarterfinals against sixth-ranked Max Thomsen of Northern Iowa.
Mitch, unbeaten on the year and 3-0 against top-20 foes, remained so as he outlasted Thomsen in the third period to earn the 3-2 decision. After a scoreless first period, Mitch registered a takedown in the second to take the 2-1 lead before Thomsen escaped to tie the match 2-2 heading into the final three minutes. Mitch quickly escaped in the third period and turned in an outstanding final 90 seconds of defense and aggressive wrestling to earn the victory and advance to the semifinals against top-seeded Anthony Ashnualt of Rutgers.
Sophomore Kaden Russell had a solid showing at 184 pounds. The Ohio native needed just 36 seconds in his first match to pin Martin Duane from The Citadel. The win pitted him against North Carolina’s Chip Ness in the round of 16. Ness, seeded fourth, held strong after Russell came out firing to start the match and sent the Blue Devil 184-pounder into the consolation bracket.
Russell quickly rebounded with a 9-6 decision over Oklahoma’ s Kayne MacCallum, but ultimately had his tournament ended in the consolation round of eight by Will Sumner of Utah Valley.
Day two of action gets underway at 12 p.m. (ET) with Matt taking to the mat. The semifinals begin at 1 p.m. (ET). All of the action can be followed on FloWrestling and via Duke wrestling Twitter - @DukeWRES.