DURHAM, N.C.—In just seven days the Duke University wrestling team will don its singlets for the first time in the 2017-18 season at the 2017 Hokie Open in Roanoke. Read up on a few storylines heading into the campaign as well as a look at the last half of the projected Blue Devil lineup.
BLUE WHITE RECAP
Duke held its annual Blue/White event in Krzyzewskiville Saturday morning to decide the top wrestlers at each weight. The Blue Devils had 13 matches overall, which included a pair of exhibition matches at 157 and 165 pounds. Three consecutive falls were featured with Thayer Atkins posting the fastest one in 58 seconds at 125.
As anticipated all four Finesilver brothers won their matches with three of them scoring bonus points. Overall, it proved to be a successful day for veterans as all but three of the overall winners at their weight were either redshirt juniors or seniors.
A trio of true freshmen – Josh Finesilver, Jeremiah Reitz and Matt Finesilver – all won to solidify their spots in the lineup.
197: Alec Schenk dec. Araad Fisher – 9-2
149: Colten Thomas dec. Anthony DeMartino – 5-2
165: Garrett Neff major dec. Maliik Marcin – 14-4
125: Thayer Atkins fall Harrison Campbell – 0:58
133: Josh Finesilver fall Josh Copeland – 1:58
141: Jeremiah Reitz fall Eric Carter – 1:46
149: Brandon Leynaud dec. Colten Thomas – 3-0
197: Alec Schenk dec. Luke Farinaro – 6-2
174/184: Matt Finesilver dec. Kaden Russell – 7-2
*157: Mitch Finesilver major dec. Ben Anderson – 16-6
*165: Zach Finesilver major dec. Garrett Neff – 16-4
149: Brandon Leynaud dec. Anthony DeMartino – 3-0
197: Luke Farinaro dec. Araad Fisher – 7-3
DUKE WELCOMES 2 MORE FINESILVERS
You’ll be hearing the Finesilver name a lot this season with the four brothers lining up for the Blue Devils. Twins Zach and Mitch are redshirt juniors and will wrestle at 165 and 157, respectively. A second set of twins, Josh and Matt, are true freshmen and are expected to compete at 133 and 174, respectively. It is likely the first time in history a team will have four brothers in a starting lineup. They already made history in Colorado high school wrestling.
LANHAM WELCOMES BIG ROOKIE CLASS
Head coach Glen Lanham welcomes 11 freshmen to the program, the largest class in his tenure. The group hails from eight different states and nine different weight classes. He likes the drive of this group and notices that each one of them is excited to step in and compete right away. There is no talk of waiting turn and redshirting. In fact, there likely will be a few of them in the starting lineup come January.
QUARTET OF CAPTAINS TO LEAD DUKE
The group of Jacob Kasper, Mitch and Zach Finesilver and Alec Schenk will serve as captains for the 2017-18 season. Their work on and off the mat has been unparalleled and knows it’s a no-brainer for them to take the reins of the squad this season. Kasper and Mitch and Zach all have experience on the national stage, while Schenk has displayed his ability to lead everyone as he makes a push to step onto the NCAA Championship scene.
LOOKING AT WEIGHTS 157-285
Mitch Finesilver returns to the mat in a Duke single in January. He redshirted last season and has gotten stronger as he makes the move up a weight class. Mitch was one win shy of earning All-America honors in 2016 at 149 pounds and will enter the 2017-18 season as the top 157-pounder in the ACC. Lanham envisions this to be a breakout year for the redshirt junior.
Making the biggest jump on the squad is Zach Finesilver. Moving three weight classes from 141 to 165, Zach has worked tirelessly on getting stronger in the weight room in hopes of translating that to success on the mat. Lanham believes he can handle the weight and is excited to see what this season holds for Zach. Garrett Neff also will battle for a spot after starting in that spot a year ago.
The fourth and final Finesilver in the lineup will be Matt. Lanham sees Matt as a dark-horse at the weight in the ACC. He is a funky wrestler for his size and much like his older brother Mitch, is strong in the top position.
This also will be a young weight of the Blue Devils as rookie Kaden Russell hits the mat at the weight. An Ohio State Champion from St. Ignatius, Russell is tough, explosive and very strong. Lanham sees his potential to be successful once Russell realizes his own potential. Once he gets to the mat, Lanham knows he’ll be tough.
Redshirt junior Alec Schenk bumps up one weight to 197 pounds this season. He is one of the strongest individuals on the team and had a fantastic summer on the mat and in the weight room. Schenk is a tireless worker and outstanding leader for the Blue Devils and Lanham hopes to see good results at this weight.
Jacob Kasper returns in search of making more history for the Blue Devils. The redshirt senior has put on a good amount of weight after putting in a lot of work over the summer on and off campus. He is a preseason top 10 pick and the top heavyweight in the ACC. He expects to return to the podium again with the ultimate goal of taking the top spot. He will be tested throughout the year at both the Cliff Keen Open and Southern Scuffle as he looks to build his resume running up to NCAAs.
DUKE RETURNS TO CLIFF KEEN OPEN
The Blue Devils return to the Cliff Keen Open in Las Vegas for the first time since 2010. One of the premier tournaments West of the Mississippi it will be an excellent chance for Blue Devil individuals to build their resumes against opponents from the Big Ten, Pac 12 and Big 12 they don’t see at other tournaments such as the Southern Scuffle.
LANHAM LOVES THE DEPTH
It has been a long time since Duke has possessed the depth it has this season according to Lanham. He believes Duke is solid from top to bottom and has a group that can get it into the top 25 at the end of the season. He believes strongly in that this could be a special season for the Blue Devils and Duke could land multiple All-Americans for the first time in program history. Stay tuned as it all starts in seven days.