DURHAM, N.C.—After months of training the 2013 Duke wrestling season gets underway this weekend at The Citadel Open. The Blue Devils will send a host of wrestlers who to compete in the season-opening tournament.
Duke welcomes a talented group of 10 wrestlers to the program who will be making their collegiate debut in 2013. Joey Abbate, Connor Bass, Alex Belaia-Martiniouk, Alex Elsea, William Hahn, Jacob Kasper, Spencer Neff, Tyler Patrick, Xaviel Ramos and Alex Tanzman all joined the Duke squad this season in every weight class between 125 and 197.
Led by second-year head coach Glen Lanham, Duke looks to improve upon its 9-10 record from a year ago as well as send multiple wrestlers to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive season. NCAA qualifiers Brandon Gambucci and Conner Hartmann return to the mat in search of another bid to the championship.
Hartmann begins the season ranked 20th in the InterMat preseason rankings at 197 pounds. After missing much of his first season in a Duke singlet to injury, the Port Orchard, Wash., native came back in the ACC Tournament to finish third and captured an at-large berth in the postseason.
Gambucci, at 133 pounds, looks to improve on his runner-up finish at the ACC Championships. The Mansfield, Ohio native finished 20-8 a year ago and garnered All-ACC honors en route to a NCAA bid.
The Blue Devils will be tested this season by an exciting yet challenging schedule that features four Big Ten opponents and a trip to the Southern Scuffle. Duke features seven home matches, including two against Big Ten opponents Ohio State and Northwestern. Stanford, Virginia, VMI, Gardner-Webb and NC State also will visit Durham to round out the home campaign.
Duke will make its full debut Nov. 10 at the Hokie Open in Salem, Va. The 2013-14 squad’s home debut will be Nov. 23 against perennial power Ohio State at 7 p.m.