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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Duke Opens Postseason Action at ACC Championships
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/01/2018
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Saturday, March 3 | ACC Network Extra 

Carmichael Arena | Chapel Hill, N.C.

ACC Championship Page | Watch Mat 1 | Watch Mat 2 | Brackets


Duke Blue Devils             

2017-18 record (ACC): 7-7 (1-4)

Head Coach: Glen Lanham (Oklahoma State ‘88)

Duke ACC Lineup

Wt. Rk. Name Yr. Record
125 - Thayer Atkins Sr. 13-13
133 - Josh Finesilver Fr. 20-14
141 - Jeremiah Reitz Fr. 5-20
149 - Brandon Leynaud R-So. 5-19
157 10 Mitch Finesilver R-Jr. 26-3
165 - Zach Finesilver R-Jr. 14-13
174 19 Matt Finesilver Fr. 23-7
184 - Kaden Russell Fr. 7-19
197 - Alec Schenk R-Jr. 18-15
285 3 Jacob Kasper R-Sr. 32-2

* Rankings are InterMat (2/13)


ACC Champions

Name Year Weight
Jerry Chadwick 1955 157
Harold McElhaney 1956, 1957 157
Karl Shetler 1959 HWT
Luke Sharpe 1964 HWT
Mike Jordan 1969 123
Ed Newman 1970, 1971 HWT
Steve Willis 1970 190
Greg Penny 1973, 1974 118
Joel Puleo 1973, 1974, 1975 HWT
Brian Davis 1974 134
Doug Sumner 1977 126
Jake Cecere 1983 142
Bradd Weber 1989, 1990 190
Mike Darlington 1992 118
Scott Frinzi 1996 150
Matt Mapes 1998 167
Adam Benitez 2004 133
Frank Cornely 2004, 2005 184
Levi Craig 2004 174
Christian Smith 2004 125
Konrad Dudziak 2009, 2010 HWT
Conner Hartmann 2015, 16 197


2018 ACC Championships – Duke Seeding

125 Thayer Atkins 5
133 Josh Finesilver 6
141 Jeremiah Reitz 5
149 Brandon Leynaud 6
157 Mitch Finesilver 2
165 Zach Finesilver 6
174 Matt Finesilver 3
184 Kaden Russell 6
197 Alec Schenk 5
285 Jacob Kasper 1


Duke by the Numbers

101 – Career wins for redshirt senior heavyweight Jacob Kasper, the fourth Blue Devil to amass 100 career victories.

21 – Current win streak for Kasper, dating back to December 2 loss to Tanner Hall

31 – ACC Champions in Duke history with the most recent being Conner Hartmann at 197 in 2016

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

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

21 – Of Kasper’s 32 wins that have come by major decision, technical fall or pin this season

2 – Mitch Finesilver’s RPI rating as of Feb. 22, just behind Arizona State’s Joshua Shields

3 – Votes Duke received in the most recent USA Today/NWCA Coaches’ poll


How to Follow the Action

  • Every match of the 2018 ACC Championships will be carried on ACC Network Extra. The action will be broadcast on the WatchESPN platform. The schedule of events is as follows. Tickets to the event at Carmichael Arena are $10 for the full day.
Doors Open 10 a.m.
First Round Matches 11 a.m.
Semifinals 1 p.m.
Consolation Semifinals 3:30 p.m.
Consolation Finals 5 p.m.
Finals 7 p.m.


ACC Awarded 34 Allocations

  • The NCAA awarded the ACC with 34 automatic allocations to the NCAA Championships to be held in Cleveland, Ohio. The 34 qualifications ties the ACC’s all-time high which was set in 2014 when the conference had seven wrestling programs and in 2016, when the ACC had six programs as it does today.


Weight Allocations

125 2
133 5
141 3
149 4
157 3
165 2
174 4
184 3
197 3
285 5

Duke in the ACC

  • A member of the ACC in wrestling since 1956, Duke’s highest finish in the ACC Tournament was third place five times, most recently in 2004.
  • Twenty-two different Duke wrestlers have won 31 ACC titles overall with Conner Hartmann being the most recent in 2016.
  • Joel Puleo is the Blue Devils’ lone competitor to win three consecutive championships, bringing home top honors at heavyweight in 1973, 1974 and 1975.
  • Five other wrestlers captured consecutive championships during their careers. In the current weight classifications, Duke has nine ACC titles at heavyweight, two at 184 pounds and 197 and one in the 174, 133 and 125-pound classifications.
  • Duke has had 33 All-ACC selections since teams were compiled in 1986.


Recapping the 2017 ACC Championships

  • Heavyweight Jacob Kasper captured runner-up honors to headline a trio of Blue Devils who secured berths in the NCAA Championships at the 2017 ACC Championships. Duke finished sixth overall with 24.5 points.
  • Joining Kasper with automatic bids to St. Louis were Jake Faust at 157 pounds and Connor Bass at 174. They finished fourth and third in their respective weight classes.
  • In the final match of the night, Kasper fell behind to top-seed and No. 4 Ty Walz of Virginia Tech early and never recovered in a 6-3 setback. It marked his second career runner-up finish and All-ACC award – he also took second at 184 pounds in 2015.


Looking at Duke

  • The Blue Devils finished the regular season with a 7-7 overall record and 1-4 mark against conference foes. The seven wins were three more than they had last season as Duke avenged losses to Navy, Virginia and Appalachian State.
  • 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 32 wins and a No. 3 national ranking, while Mitch Finesilver has 25 wins. Rookie Matt Finesilver paces the rookie group with 23 victories on the year at 174. Alec Schenk is having a solid season up at 197 with 18 wins.
  • There are a lot of new faces and movement in the Duke lineup this season. Only 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.


Looking at First Round Matchups

  • The first round will feature a host of interesting matchups as a lot of the regular season duals were very close on the mat. Thayer Atkins will be facing LJ Bentley for the second straight year in the first round and will look to avenge the narrow 4-2 decision. Here is how Duke fared against its opening round foes during the regular season.


How Duke Fared vs. Opening Round Foes

Duke Wrestler Wt. Opponent, School Result
Thayer Atkins 125 LJ Bentley Pitt L, Dec., 2-4
Josh Finesilver 133 Tariq Qilson NCSU L, Fall, 2:35
Jeremiah Reitz 141 Nick Zanetta Pitt L, 1-4
Brandon Leynaud 149 Ryan Blees VT L,TF, 2-20
Mitch Finesilver 157 Kennedy Monday UNC W, Dec., 4-0
Solomon Chishko VT N/A
Zach Finesilver 165 Brian Hamann NCSU L, Dec., 3-6
Matt Finesilver 174 Tommy O’Brien Pitt W, MD, 12-3
Kaden Russell 184 Chip Ness UNC L, Fall, 4:24
Alec Schenk 197 Kellan Stout Pitt L, Dec., 2-4
Jacob Kasper HWT Ryan Solomon Pitt W, Dec., 5-1
Andrew Dunn VT W, MD, 12-0

Duke’s Trend Under Lanham

  • The Blue Devils are poised to send multiple qualifiers to the NCAA Championships for the sixth straight season and at least three for the third straight season. Prior to the 2016 season, Duke had never sent more than two wrestlers to NCAA Championships in consecutive seasons.
  • Duke is ranked 20th in the InterMat poll, and is receving three votes in the USA Today/NWCA rankings. It’s only the second time in history Duke has received votes in the poll.
  • The Blue Devils have never been ranked in the top 25, but have finished among the top 32 teams in the NCAA the past four seasons. Prior to the team’s 29th-place finish in 2014, Duke had never finished higher than 35th and had never put together three consecutive top 35 finishes.


Dual Points Leaders

  • Jacob Kasper is easily Duke’s leader in dual points with 61 on the year. The veteran heavyweight scored bonus points in 11 of his 14 dual victories. Mitch Finesilver is behind him with 45.
  • Overall, the four Finesilvers combined to score 46 percent of the team’s dual points this season 117-of-257.


Blue Devils vs ACC

  • Duke went 17-33 in the 50 individual matchups in ACC duals this season. Jacob Kasper was 5-0, while Mitch and Matt Finesilver were 4-1.
  • Josh Finesilver, needing one win to qualify for the NCAA Championships, was 0-5 with three of them coming by decision.


Duke in Coaches Panel And RPI Rankings

  • Six Blue Devils were peppered throughout the third installment of the NCAA Coaches’ Panel rankings and the second release of the RPI ratings. Mitch leads the way with a No. 2 RPI, while Kasper is third in the coaches’ rankings.
Wt Wrestler RPI NCAA
125 Thayer Atkins 29 -
133 Josh Finesilver 23 32
157 Mitch Finesilver 2 11
165 Zach Finesilver - 32
174 Matt Finesilver 15 19
HWT Jacob Kasper 6 3
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