DURHAM, N.C.—The Blue Devil wrestling trio of Josh Finesilver, Zach Finesilver and Jacob Kasper garnered more academic honors, earning NWCA Division I All-Academic Team honors as announced by the coaches’ association. Duke landed 16th in the Division I team rankings.
Duke, sporting a team grade point average of 3.277 is the lone ACC squad represented on the 30-team list and one of 11 of the top 25 programs at the NCAA Championships. Only two programs – Ohio State and Lock Haven – finished above the Blue Devils in the final team rankings at NCAAs and on the NWCA chart. Kent State tied for 22nd with Duke and ranks second on the NWCA list.
Kasper picks up NWCA Scholar All-America recognition for the third time in his career, while Josh and Zach grab their first accolades. NC State led the ACC with five selections, while Duke was second with three. Virginia and Virginia Tech both had two and Pittsburgh one.
Josh was one of Duke’s five NCAA qualifiers this year, earning an at-large spot at 133 pounds. He finished his rookie campaign with a 20-19 overall record, took second in the freshmen and sophomore division of the Hokie Open and was third at the Keystone Classic. He, along with his brothers Matt and Mitch, is one of five true freshmen in Duke history to reach the NCAA Championships.
Bumping up two weights to 165 pounds this past season, Zach made his second appearance at the NCAA Championships after battling his way to runner-up at the ACC Championships. He finished the year with a 12-13 overall record after wrestling the first portion of the season unattached. Seeded sixth in the ACC Championships, Zach bested the No. 3 seed in his opening match and then upset the second seed in the semifinals to clinch a spot in the NCAA postseason event.
Kasper, a sociology and cultural anthropology major, had a memorable season in capturing his second All-America award with a career-best fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Along the way to his podium finish, Kasper broke the Duke single-season wins record with a 38 and became the fourth Blue Devil to reach 100 career victories. The 2018 ACC Champion at heavyweight, Kasper went undefeated in league action and lost just two matches during the regular season. He completed his career with a 107-38 record and left his name in the Duke history book as the lone Blue Devil to win a Southern Scuffle title after he captured a second consecutive crown in 2018.
Duke went 7-7 overall in duals, finished a record fifth of 34 teams at the Southern Scuffle and garnered a program-best 22nd-place finish at the NCAA Championships. It marked the first time in Blue Devil wrestling history they finished in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships.