CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Redshirt junior Immanuel Kerr-Brown remained undefeated in ACC action tonight with a major decision victory as the Duke wrestling team fell to No. 17 Virginia Tech 33-4. The Blue Devils return to action at home Jan. 29 against VMI.
Duke falls to 4-8 overall and 0-3 in ACC action, while Virginia Tech improves to 14-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference.
“I thought the effort was there,” said head coach Glen Lanham. “We tried to get to a lot of finishes, but we didn’t get to them. We got to get to our guys and coach them better. The fight’s there. It’s just the fact we’ve just got to finish in positions and we’re not doing that right now.”
Trailing 12-0 after a pair of forfeits at heavyweight and 125, Duke started the match with a thrilling bout at 133 pounds between Duke redshirt freshman Evan Botwin and Hokie rookie Dennis Gustafson. Botwin and Gustafson traded shots early on with Botwin holding a narrow 3-2 advantage after the opening period.
Gustafson scored a takedown and three-point nearfall to take a 7-4 lead midway through the second period, but Botwin wasted no time and responded with an escape and takedown to tie the bout heading into the final two minutes.
All even, Botwin scored an early takedown in the third for the 9-7 lead but Gustafason finished with a reversal and got Botwin on his back for nearfall points and the 12-9 decision.
Virginia Tech added decisions at 141 and 149 for the 21-0 lead heading into the 157-pound bout between Duke’s Kerr-Brown and Sal Mastriani. Looking to remain unbeaten in ACC action, Kerr-Brown jumped all over Mastriani with a 7-1 advantage. The Duke captain added to his lead in the final two periods to post his third major decision of the year 16-4. Kerr-Brown is now 16-7 overall on the year and 9-3 in duals.
“[Immanuel Kerr-Brown] is in the zone right now,” Lanham said. “He’s in the zone. He’s confident in himself. He’s more vocal as a captain. He’s doing all the right things right now and it’s paying off.”
At 174 pounds, Duke redshirt sophomore Trey Adamson came up just short in a 6-4 overtime setback. Trailing 3-1 after two periods, Adamson turned in an outstanding final stanza with an escape and a takedown for the 4-3 lead late in the match. Dickson, sensing the timing ticking away, rallied for an escape in the final 20 seconds to force overtime. The Virginia Tech redshirt senior scored 20 seconds into the overtime to secure the decision.
A sixth meeting with a top-20 wrestler awaited Duke redshirt sophomore Conner Hartmann at 197 pounds as he squared off with No. 16 Chris Penny. The Virginia Tech veteran scored first and led 2-0 after three minutes of wrestling. Hartmann responded in the second period to take the 3-2 lead, but an escape by Penny tied the bout with one period left.
Penny escaped to start the third and added a takedown with 47 seconds left, leaving Hartmann little time to come back from the 6-3 deficit. The Port Orchard, Wash. native escaped and got another point for a Virginia Tech stall, but couldn’t get that final takedown in the setback.
Duke returns to action with a non-conference match Jan. 29 against VMI. The dual is set for 7 p.m. in Card Gymnasium.