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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Duke Puts Win Streak to Test Sunday Against Pitt
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/10/2018
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Duke Blue Devils vs. Pittsburgh

Sunday, February 11 | 2 p.m. | ACC NETWORK EXTRA

Cameron Indoor Stadium | Durham, N.C.


Duke Blue Devils             

2017-18 record (ACC): 6-5 (1-2)

Head Coach: Glen Lanham (Oklahoma State ‘88)


Duke Probables

Wt. Rk. Name Yr. Record
125 - Thayer Atkins Sr. 12-11
133 - Josh Finesilver Fr. 19-12
141 - Jeremiah Reitz Fr. 5-18
149 - Brandon Leynaud R-So. 5-16
157 11 Mitch Finesilver R-Jr. 23-3
165 - Zach Finesilver R-Jr. 13-11
174 - Matt Finesilver Fr. 21-6
184 - Kaden Russell Fr. 7-16
197 - Alec Schenk R-Jr. 17-13
285 4 Jacob Kasper R-Sr. 29-2

* Rankings are InterMat (2/6)


Pittsburgh Panthers       

2017-18 record (ACC)    2-10(0-3)

Head Coach: Keith Gavin (Pitt ‘08)

Season/Overall Record First/2-10


Pittsburgh Probables

Wt. Rk. Name Yr. Record
125 - LJ Bentley Jr. 4-3
133 11 Dom Forys Sr. 12-3
141 - Nick Zanetta R-Sr. 13-9
149 - Robert Lee Jr. 6-9
157 - Taleb Rahmani R-So. 13-9
165 - Jake Wentzel R-Fr. 11-9
174 - Austin Bell R-Fr. 2-11
- Tommy O’Brien Fr. 2-6
184 - Gregg Harvey R-Fr. 10-11
197 - Zach Bruce R-Jr. 1-5
285 - Ryan Solomon R-Sr. 16-6

* Rankings are InterMat (2/6)


Duke by the Numbers

98 – Career wins for redshirt senior heavyweight Jacob Kasper, two shy of becoming the fourth Blue Devil to amass 100 career victories.

8 – Current win streak for true freshman 174-pounder Matt Finesilver

84 – Of Duke’s 214 team dual points scored by the stellar combo of Mitch Finesilver and Jacob Kasper

7 – Blue Devils ranked overall in the NCAA Coaches’ Panel rankings or RPI rankings

8 – Wins needed by Kasper to break the Duke single-season wins mark held by John Barone

19 – Of Kasper’s 29 wins that have come by major decision, technical fall or pin this season

24 – Duke’s team ranking in the Feb. 6 InterMat poll

5 – Falls for redshirt sophomore Brandon Leynaud this season, a career best


How to Follow the Action

  • Sunday’s match will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra and can be seen on the WatchESPN platform. Ryan Craig and former Blue Devil wrestler Dak Adamson will call the action. Live scoring also is available at Trackwrestling.


Series History

  • Duke and Pittsburgh face each other for just fifth time overall after the first meeting in 2014 when the Panthers joined the ACC. Pitt is 4-0 against the Blue Devils will all four duals occurring in Pittsburgh.
  • Two of the matches have been close ones as Pitt edged Duke by five points and four points in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The other two contests were dominated by the Panthers.


Looking At Duke

  • The Blue Devils are riding a three-match win streak and are 6-5 overall on the year and 1-2 against ACC foes. Duke is coming off of a 25-17 win at Appalachian State Thursday night.
  • Duke features four true freshmen in its lineup and just two seniors in Thayer Atkins and Jacob Kasper at 125 and HWT, respectively. Kasper is tops on the team with 29 wins, while Mitch Finesilver has 23. Rookie Matt Finesilver is on an eight-match win streak, while Alec Schenk is having a solid season up at 197 with 17 wins.
  • There are a lot of new faces and movement in the Duke lineup this season. Both Atkins and Kasper stayed put at their weights, while the remaining eight starters are competing at new weights.
  • Mitch returned to the lineup at 157 after a redshirt season, while Zach bumped up to 165 from 141 a year ago. Schenk made the move to 197 from 184, while Leynaud is up to 149 from being a starter at 133 as a true freshman in 2015-16.


Last Time Out

  • Appalachian State led 17-15 with two bouts remaining in the dual, but Mitch and Zach Finesilver both came away with technical falls to lift the Blue Devils to the 25-17 road victory. The win was the third straight for the Blue Devils as they picked up win No. 6 of the year.
  • Mitch and Zach and Jacob Kasper all picked up technical falls in the victory, while Thayer Atkins, Josh Finesilver battled to decisions and Matt Finesilver posted a major decision.
  • Mitch launched Duke back into the lead with his fourth technical fall and Zach iced the victory with his first tech of the season.


Duke in Coaches Panel and RPI Rankings

  • Seven Blue Devils are peppered throughout the second installment of the NCAA Coaches’ Panel rankings and the first release of the RPI ratings. Mitch and Zach Finesilver are not yet eligible for the RPI - needing 17 Division I matches to their name.
Wt. Wrestler RPI NCAA
125 Thayer Atkins 24 -
133 Josh Finesilver 20 32
157 Mitch Finesilver - 11
165 Zach Finesilver - 33
174 Matt Finesilver 14 25
197 Alec Schenk 29 -
HWT Jacob Kasper 5 4


  • The final rankings will be one of the tools used as part of the selection process to determine the qualifiers for the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Wrestlers in each weight class will be measured by winning percentage, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches’ rankings to earn spots in their qualifying tournaments for the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
  • The coaches’ rankings are compiled by a vote of coaches representing each qualifying tournament. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class.
  • To be eligible for the rankings, wrestlers must have participated in at least five matches against Division I opponents in the weight class and have wrestled within the last 30 days.
  • The next rankings release on February 22 is slated to correspond with the reveal of conference allocations for the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.


Last Time We Met

  • Pittsburgh jumped out to a 15-0 lead and cruised to the 28-9 victory, highlighted by an upset from No. 18 Ryan Solomon over fourth-ranked Jacob Kasper of Duke. Three Blue Devils captured victories - Connor Bass (174), Alec Schenk (184) and Zach Finesilver (141).


Pittsburgh 28, Duke 9

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 • Fitzgerald Field House • Pittsburgh, Pa.

149: Mike Racciato (P) dec. Xaviel Ramos (D), 11-9  [Pitt 3, Duke 0]

157: Taleb Rahmani (P) pins Jake Faust (D), 2:34   [Pitt 9, Duke 0]

165: No. 9 TeShan Campbell (P) pins Michael Wright (D), 1:40   [Pitt 15, Duke 0]

174: Connor Bass (D) dec. Donovan McAfee (P), 4-1  [Pitt 15, Duke 3]

184: Alec Schenk (D) dec. Zach Bruce (P), 3-1 SV1  [Pitt 15, Duke 6]

197: John Rizzo (P) dec. Luke Farinaro (D), 5-0  [Pitt 18, Duke 6]

285: No. 18 Ryan Solomon (P) dec. No. 4 Jacob Kasper (D), 4-3  [Pitt 21, Duke 6]

125: LJ Bentley (P) dec. Thayer Atkins (D), 3-2   [Pitt 24, Duke 6]

133: No. 8 Dom Forys (P) major dec. Cole Baumgartner (D), 14-3 [Pitt 28, Duke 6]

141: Zach Finesilver (D) dec. Nick Zanetta (P), 6-1  [Pitt 28, Duke 9]


Scouting the Panthers

  • Pittsburgh comes to Durham for the first time sporting a 2-10 overall record and 0-3 mark against ACC foes. Seven of the 10 setbacks have come against top 25 teams, including all three ACC duals.
  • Dom Forys headlines the Pittsburgh lineup at 133 pounds. Pitt’s lone top 20 wrestler comes in at No. 11 with a 12-2 mark overall. He took seventh at the Cliff Keen Invite
  • Overall, five Panthers were ranked in the first set of NCAA Coaches’ rankings of the top 33 wrestlers at each weight. Heavyweight Ryan Solomon, sporting a team-best 16 wins, and 141-pounder Nick Zanetta were 15th. Taleb Rahmani (157) and Gregg Harvey (184) came in at 22nd and 33rd, respectively.


In Common

  • Duke and Pitt share one common non-conference opponent and have wrestled two of the same ACC foes this season. Both the Blue Devils and Panthers are 1-2 in the matches.
Opponent Duke Pitt
NC State L, 6-35 L, 9-23
Virginia Tech L, 19-24 L, 6-31
CSU Bakersfield W, 25-17 W, 21-18

  • In tournament action, both squads competed at the Cliff Keen Invite in Las Vegas. Duke was without the services of Mitch and Zach Finesilver at the event.
Tournament Duke Pitt
Cliff Keen Invite 25th, 32.5 T-12th, 56


Jacob Kasper Chasing 100

  • Redshirt senior heavyweight Jacob Kasper is hunting 100 career victories this season. He is at 98 currently, needing just two more to become the fourth Blue Devil to reach the century mark. He is likely to get his 100th against ACC rival North Carolina Feb. 14.


Matchups to Watch

  • The match at 157 between Duke’s No. 11 Mitch Finesilver and Pitt’s Taleb Rahmani will be one to watch. Both are ranked in the NCAA Coaches’ Panel rankings
  • At 133, Josh Finesilver has a great opportunity in front of him against No. 11 Dom Forys. Josh is 1-7 against top 20 foes this season as he looks to make a name for himself on the national stage.


Rematches Awaiting

  • The rematch everyone will be looking for is at heavyweight between Duke’s Jacob Kasper and Ryan Solomon of Pitt. Kasper will be looking to avenge his regular season loss to the Panther senior.
  • Meeting for the third time in the past two seasons, Duke’s 125-pound Thayer Atkins is in search of his first win over LJ Bentley. The Pittsburgh junior defeated Atkins twice last season, edging him 3-2 in the regular season and 4-2 in overtime at the ACC Championships. Bentley won 8-2 in the first meeting at the 2016 ACC Championships.


Up Next

  • Duke makes the short drive down Tobacco Road on Valentine’s Day to take on ACC rival North Carolina. The match is slated for a 7 p.m., start at Memorial Hall. It will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.




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