DURHAM, N.C.—The Duke University wrestling team turned in a dominating performance as the Blue Devils posted a 38-9 victory over Virginia Military Institute this evening in non-conference dual action. The Blue Devils scored bonus points in six of the eight bouts it won on the evening, including getting three pins.
The win is Duke’s fifth in the past six seasons against the Keydets and put the Blue Devils at 5-8 in duals this season. VMI falls to 3-12 overall.
“I felt like it was a great performance,” said head coach Glen Lanham. “I felt like the guys wrestled well. We’ve been telling them all week to go after their offense and attack and I felt like we did that tonight. It was a good start to the week. We have two tough duals coming up with Drexel and Rider so we have to be ready for those. I felt like it was a good start.”
Duke kicked off the evening with redshirt freshman Evan Botwin garnering a 15-0 technical fall over Caleb Yost at 133 pounds. Botwin consistently turned Yost as the back points added up as the Blue Devil 133-pounder ended the match with 45 seconds remain in in the second period. The technical fall was the first of the Chestnut Hill, Pa. native’s career.
The firsts continued to come for Duke with Xaviel Ramos grabbing six points with his first career pin in a tight 2-2 match early in the third period. Even at 2-2 heading into the third period, VMI’s Emmitt Kelly chose bottom in hopes he could get the winning escape point. Ramos, however, had other ideas as the rookie put Kelly on his back with 1:19 remaining to get the fall.
A solid 6-0 decision by freshman Connor Bass at 149 pounds gave Duke the 14-6 lead after four matches and redshirt junior Immanuel Kerr-Brown quickly made it 18-6 with a second consecutive major decision at 157 pounds. Bass picked up his seventh win and third dual victory, while Kerr-Brown notched his team-best 17th win of the year.
Redshirt sophomore Trey Adamson had the fastest bout of the night, pinning Jake Koch in just 1:01 for his second fall of the year and seventh of his career. His 13th win of the year, Duke’s 174-pounder is 8-4 in duals this season.
At 184 pounds, rookie Jacob Kasper gave Duke five more points with a 21-5 technical fall of Hardy Hendren. After getting off to a slow start, the Lexington, Ohio native scored seven points in the final 30 seconds to take control of the match 11-3 after three minutes. He built upon his lead in the second and ultimately ended the match with a takedown with 1:15 remaining.
Redshirt sophomore Conner Hartmann continued the trend with the third pin of the night for the Blue Devils. With a 7-0 lead after one period, Hartmann continued to wear down Andrew Embree en route to the fall with 30 seconds left in the third period. The win was the 13th of the year for the 197-pounder and puts him at 8-4 in duals this season.
Rounding out Duke’s lineup for the night was senior Brian Self at heavyweight. Returning to the lineup from injury, Self suffered a tough 3-2 decision to VMI’s wins leader Juan Adams after what appeared to be an escape in the third period came up just short and allowed Adams to ride out the match for the bonus point and one-point victory.
Duke continues its non-conference action at Rider and at Drexel this weekend. The duals are set for 1 and 7 p.m., respectively.