CLEVELAND, Ohio – Jacob Kasper continued his ascent in the Duke wrestling records book, securing his second All-America honor and breaking the single-season wins record with a convincing quarterfinal win to highlight Session III of the NCAA Wrestling Championships for Duke. He will wrestle in the semifinals tonight on ESPN at 8 p.m.
Duke sits in 18th place in the team race with 15.5 points. The Blue Devils have never finished higher than 28th in program history.
Kasper, up against No. 12 seed Youssif Hermida of Maryland in the quarterfinal round, never left the match in doubt as he struck early with a takedown. After Hermida escaped to make it 2-1, the redshirt senior responded with a takedown in short time for the 4-1 advantage after three minutes of wrestling.
Hermida was solid on top in the second period, whittling Kasper’s riding time down to 1:04 before the Blue Devil heavyweight escaped for the 5-2 lead en route to the 7-2 decision. Kasper heads into the semifinal matchup with No. 1 seed and two-time NCAA Champion Kyle Snyder with a 37-2 overall record and 26-match win streak.
Mitch Finesilver, the No. 12 seed at 157 pounds, had no trouble with his opening bout to the day. The redshirt junior scored early and often on No. 11 seed Clayton Ream. A quick takedown in the first and then a turn for four nearfall points in the second gave Mitch a commanding 9-0 lead and eventually a 12-1 major decision. The win pushed him to 19-5 on the year and into the consolation third round.
Up against No. 4 seed Joshua Shields of Arizona State, Mitch suffered a heartbreaking defeat as Shields scored a takedown in the final eight seconds for the 3-2 victory. Mitch led 2-1 and was defending Shields well heading into the final 30 seconds. After a stalemate call with 21 seconds left, Shields finally caught Mitch for the win. Mitch finished his season with a 19-6 overall record. Both of his losses in the NCAA Championships came by a 3-2 score.
Matt Finesilver saw his fantastic rookie campaign come to an end with a 5-3 setback to No. 15 seed Dylan Lydy of Purdue. Matt, compiling a 26-11 record at 174 pounds as a true freshman, battled the redshirt freshman tough and was in striking distance of tying the bout as he escaped with six seconds left. Lydy defended well in the final six seconds and for all seven minutes to advance to consolation third round.
Kasper, guaranteed a spot, on the podium will wrestle for a spot in the national title match. A loss would put him in the consolation semifinals. All of the action tonight is on ESPN.