ST. LOUIS - Duke University freshman Tanner Hough opened NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships today in the first and second rounds at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. Hough dropped a pair of matches to conclude his rookie campaign.
Just the second true freshman in Duke wrestling history to earn a berth in the NCAA Championships, Hough opened the event against Colonial Athletic Assocation champion redshirt sophomore Luke Vaith of Hofstra. The pair shared one common opponent during the season, with both wrestlers falling to Mike Kessler of Appalachian State.
Vaith scored first in the match with a takedown in the first period for a 2-0 lead after three minutes of action. Hough managed an escape to make it 2-1, but a takedown near the end of the third stanza gave Vaith the 4-1 decision. The loss was Hough's 12th of the year.
Moving into the consolation bracket, Hough earned a matchup with Missouri's Nicholas Hucke. The Missouri junior registered the first points of the bout, registering a two-point takedown with one minute left in the first period. Hough responded with an escape to cut the lead in half after three minutes of wrestling.
Hough scored with another escape to start the second period to even the match 2-2. Hucke, holding the riding time advantage, came right back with a reversal to go back in front by two points, 4-2. The Duke rookie was able to get one more point, but Hucke controlled the final period to earn a 7-3 decision.
Hough finishes the year with a 23-13 overall record. He is one of two Blue Devils to reach the 20-win benchmark and led Duke with nine pins for the year.