DURHAM, N.C.—Duke senior Zach Finesilver registered his third pin of the year to lead the Duke wrestling team in a hard-fought 21-17 setback to Appalachian State. The Blue Devils needed one more match to go in their favor to earn the dual victory.
The Blue Devils (2-6) got victories from the four Finesilvers, while freshman Arien Leigh showed well overall in his debut in a Duke singlet at 125 pounds. Mitch Finesilver remained unbeaten in duals, while beating the No. 25 wrestler in the NCAA Coaches’ rankings.
“That’s a kid who is a national qualifier and Mitch got the major,” said head coach Glen Lanham. “Mitch is wrestling at another level right now and we have to keep him going. Everybody is going to give Mitch his best match. It was good on Mitch to not go into the third with the kid trying to steal the match from him.”
After Appalachian State (6-6) took a 3-0 lead with a win at 157 pounds, Zach hit the mat at 165 and made quick work of Michael Elliott with a pin in 2:13. The win for Zach was his 14th of the season and marked a win over a top 32 opponent in the NCAA Coaches’ rankings.
Matt Finesilver, days after moving up to 16th in the polls, followed suit with a 10-2 major decision over Thomas Fitz. Leading 5-1 in the second period, the sophomore 174-pounder outscored Fitz 5-1 in the final two minutes for his 20th win of the year.
Trailing 10-3, Appalachian State grabbed five consecutive decisions to jump back in front by a 21-10 score with only Josh and Mitch Finesilver left to wrestle.
Araad Fisher and Leigh, despite the setbacks, showed well at heavyweight and 125, respectively. Fisher was just a couple shots away from picking up the win as was Leigh.
“I thought Araad wrestled well,” said head coach Glen Lanham. “He made adjustments during the match. He dove after a leg one time and then he didn’t do it again. He made that adjustment. I felt like he wrestled a tough match.”
“That was a good performance by Arien,” Lanham said. “To see him put himself in a position to win and see that fight was good to see. We have to make some adjustments. I was happy with his effort, we just have to make improvements on technique.”
Irvin Enriquez scored the first points of the 141-pound match, but it Josh escaped and scored six of the final seven points for the 6-2 decision. The victory for the sophomore stopped a tough stretch as he heads into another tough bout at Virginia Saturday.
“He wrestled in spurts pretty good,” said head coach Glen Lanham. “He had that kid on the ropes and one more takedown I think he really could have opened that match up. But I felt like overall, he wrestled well in spurts. We just have to get him to put seven minutes of consistent wrestling together.”
The three points left the dual just out of reach for the Blue Devils with Mitch closing out the bout. The senior did his usual thing and took care of business with a 14-3 major decision over Matt Zovistoski, his 24th win of the year and his third major decision.
Appalachian State 21, Duke 17
157: Angel Najar (App State) decision Benjamin Anderson (Duke), 13-6 | App State 3, Duke 0
165: Zach Finesilver (Duke) fall Michael Elliott (App State), 2:13 | App State 3, Duke 6
174: No. 16 Matt Finesilver (Duke) major decision Thomas Fitz (App State), 10-2 | App State 3, Duke 10
184: Alan Clothier (App State) decision Kaden Russell (Duke), 9-3 | App State 6, Duke 10
197: No. 19 Randall Diabe (App State) decision Alec Schenk (Duke), 10-3 | App State 9, Duke 10
HWT: Cary Miller (App State) decision Araad Fisher (Duke), 6-2 | App State 12, Duke 10
125: De’Andre Swinson-Barr (App State) decision Arien Leigh (Duke), 8-4 | App State 15, Duke 10
133: Codi Russell wins by forfeit | App State 21, Duke 10
141: Josh Finesilver (Duke) decision Irvin Enriquez (App State), 6-2 | App State 21, Duke 13
149: No. 6 Mitch Finesilver (Duke) major decision Matt Zovistoski, 14-3 | App State 21, Duke 17