ST. LOUIS—Redshirt junior Jacob Kasper joined an elite club of Duke wrestling, becoming the Blue Devils’ third All-American in program history with a quarterfinal win to kick off day two of the NCAA Championships. Kasper will go up against top seed and reigning national champion Kyle Snyder in the semifinals Friday evening.
Kasper, up against No. 5 seed Nick Nevills of the stalwart Penn State squad, used a takedown late in the second period to break open a tight match between the Blue Devil and Nittany Lion. They wrestled a scoreless first period and Kasper started the second on bottom. Nevills built his riding time to 43 seconds before Kasper escaped for the 1-0 lead with just over one minute left in the period.
With time winding down in the second period, Kasper scored on his shot to push to a comfortable 3-0 lead heading into the final stanza. Nevills escaped in the third to bring it to 3-1, but could never get in on Kasper as the Duke heavyweight advanced to the NCAA semifinals for a matchup with Snyder.
Connor Bass saw his career come to an end in a tough loss to No. 13 seed Trace Engelkes of Northern Illinois. Engelkes established a comfortable lead before the Duke senior stormed back to take an 8-7 advantage in the third period.
Just like they had done throughout the match Bass and Engelkes continued to trade points as the Northern Illinois 174-pounder scored a reversal and then a nearfall for a 13-8 advantage. There was no giving up for Bass as he scored a takedown late in the third, but couldn’t come up with a turn to tie the match, en route to the 13-11 setback.
Semifinal action gets underway Friday evening starting at 7 p.m. Television coverage will be on ESPN with the heavyweight match between Kasper and Snyder concluding the evening.