DURHAM, N.C.—Duke redshirt sophomore Conner Hartmann captured a pair of big victories on the mat today as the Blue Devils closed out their regular season with losses to NC State and No. 21 Northwestern. Rookie Jacob Kasper and redshirt sophomore Trey Adamson also picked up two wins.
Duke (6-15, 0-6 ACC) fell to NC State in the first match of the day 25-13 and dropped its final dual to the No. 21 Wildcats 23-16. The Wolfpack, splitting the two matches, improved to 14-5, while Northwestern is now 8-7 overall.
“I felt like we wrestled hard today and were the initiators out there most of the time,” said head coach Glen Lanham. “We’re missing two NCAA qualifiers and having to forfeit 125 really hurts, but I like the way our guys wrestled and competed. I feel like a few of the guys are turning the corner. They’re still making mistakes and we have to correct those for ACCs.”
Hartmann, ranked 16th at 197 pounds, started his day off by evening his ACC record to 3-3 with a 9-1 major decision of NC State’s KaRonne Jones. The Port Orchard, Wash., native garnered his 20th and arguably biggest win of the year with a 7-5 thriller over 13th-ranked Alex Polizzi.
Trailing 4-2 heading into the final period, Hartmann took advantage of Polizzi’s fatigue and scored a reversal to tie the bout 4-4. Polizzi escaped to make it 5-4, but a takedown with six seconds left and the riding time bonus point gave Hartmann the two-point decision. Hartmann is 3-6 overall against top 20 opponents this season as he improves to 20-8 overall.
“[The Northwestern] match was a lot of fun,” said Hartmann. “There was a lot of scrambling and you don’t usually get that at 197. I felt like he was getting tired in the third period and I took advantage. It was a lot of fun being in that match.”
Kasper grabbed his first career ACC victory at 184 pounds, defeating Michael Macchiavello by a 9-6 decision. The true freshman, leading 5-4 after two periods, used a pair of reversals one minute apart to secure the decision. He followed that with a convincing 10-4 decision over Northwestern’s Jacob Berkowitz to improve to .500 at 14-14 for the year.
Adamson had a pair of exciting wins at 174, beating NC State’s Pete Renda 7-5 and Kevin Bialka 9-5. Against Renda, the Riverton, Utah native used a 4-0 second period to open a 7-3 advantage in the bout. Renda scored a takedown in the third to make it 7-5, but Adamson held off all of his late pushes.
The afternoon match was very similar with Adamson and Bialka finishing the first tied 3-3. Adamson outscored the Wildcat redshirt senior 4-2 in the second period for the 7-5 edge and used a reversal in the final 20 seconds to seal his 17th win of the year.
Splitting matches for the Blue Devils were Xaviel Ramos at 141, Immanuel Kerr-Brown (157) and Marcus Cain (165). Kerr-Brown posted arguably the most exciting match as he scored a sudden victory takedown early in overtime to upend Northwestern’s Ben Sullivan 8-6.
Ramos posted his second major decision of the season with an outstanding third period against Pat Greco of Northwestern. The rookie, leading 5-3 after five minutes, went on the offensive and outscored Greco 6-0 for his eighth win of the year.
Cain, down 4-2, rallied in the third period against Max Rohskopf for the 6-4 decision. The win pushed him to 2-4 in the ACC and to 11-15 overall.
Duke heads to the postseason with ACC Championships set for March 8 at Virginia Tech. Seeding will be announced March 5.