DURHAM, N.C.-Duke University redshirt sophomore Diego Bencomo will make his debut in the NCAA Wrestling Championship on Thursday, March 17 when he travels to Philadelphia, Pa. for collegiate wrestling's biggest event of the year. Bencomo qualified with a runner-up finish at 184 pounds at the ACC Championship.
Bencomo will take on No. 11 seed Kirk Smith of Boise State in the first round, which kicks off on March 20 at 11 a.m. Live stats will be available for all matches, while live video will be available on Mats 1,2,3,4 on ESPN3.com for the first two rounds and the quarterfinals.
One of Duke's top wrestlers over the past two seasons, Bencomo enters the NCAA Tournament with a 25-14 overall record. He upset the ACC's top seed and 19th-ranked Jon Fausey in the ACC Championship Semifinal en route to the runner-up finish. He is Duke's 26th wrestler to earn All-ACC recognition and the 32nd Blue Devil to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship field.
Bencomo will take on his fifth ranked wrestler of the year when he goes up against Smith on March 20. He is 2-2 against top 25 foes with the most recent victory coming against Fausey. This will be his first match against Smith. A Phoenix native, Bencomo took fourth at the Keystone Classic and finished with a 19-9 tournament record. He ranked tied for third on the team in falls with four and posted extra points in 12 matches overall.
Smith, a senior, heads into the NCAA Championship after taking runner-up honors home in 2010. His lone loss last season came in the title match as he finished with a 28-1 overall record as a junior. A three-time NCAA qualifier, Smith is 8-1 in dual matches and has wrestled just 10 times overall this season. His lone dual match loss was a medical forfeit against Oklahoma State on Feb. 11. Smith was ranked No. 1 for much of the season and is currently seventh in the InterMat poll.
The first session of wrestling commences on Thursday, March 17 at 11 a.m., at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa. The tournament is currently sold out of tickets. The tournament runs from March 17-19.