DURHAM, N.C.—Duke redshirt-junior Immanuel Kerr-Brown grabbed his third win over a ranked opponent this season, but 12th-ranked Virginia proved to be too much for the Blue Devils as it cruised to the 30-6 ACC wrestling win in Card Gymnasium. Duke is back in action Saturday morning against No. 24 Stanford for another test against a ranked opponent.
Duke falls to 3-6 overall and 0-2 in ACC matches. Three of the Blue Devils’ setbacks have come against top-15 opponents. Kerr-Brown headlined the match for Duke with a narrow 6-5 decision over No. 13 Blaise Butler.
Kerr-Brown, trailing 2-1 after the opening stanza, dominated the action in the second period. The Rome, Ga., native escaped just 10 seconds in to tie the bout and added a takedown for a 4-2 advantage. Butler responded answered with the same combination to regain the lead, but an escape by the Duke captain tied the match heading into the final period. With Butler choosing bottom to start the third session, Kerr-Brown took advantage and built the minute riding time to come away with the 6-5 decision.
The win is Kerr-Brown’s team-best 14th of the year and second ACC win. He is 3-2 against ranked foes this season and 7-2 in duals.
The Cavaliers jumped out to an 11-0 lead with victories at 125, 133 and 141. At 133 redshirt freshman Evan Botwin controlled the early portion of the match as he opened a 3-0 lead with a nearfall in the second period. A quick escape and takedown by Joe Martinez in the final seconds of the period to tie the bout 3-3. With Botwin holding the riding time extra point advantage heading into the third period, Martinez was able to escape to the match and added a takedown in the final seconds to come away with the 6-4 decision.
Freshman Connor Bass, looking for his first ACC victory, was in control from the opening whistle. The rookie 149-pounder led 2-0 after the first period and never looked back en route to the 7-1 victory. The lone point from Chris Yankowich was an escape with 27 seconds remaining in the match. The win was his sixth of the year and second dual triumph.
Redshirt sophomore Conner Hartmann dropped a heartbreaker as Zach Nye scored a takedown with 50 seconds left to come away with the 5-4 decision. The loss was just Hartman’s fifth of the year and second in a dual match.
At heavyweight, 184-pounder Dylan Ryan turned a valiant effort as he wrestled up two weight classes against Ethan Hayes. Leading 7-2 after two periods, Hayes tacked on five more points in the final session to come away with the major decision.
The Blue Devils return to action in Card Gym Jan. 18 at 11 a.m., against No. 24 Stanford. The match will feature live scoring from trackwrestling.com as well as live video on the Blue Devil Network.