DURHAM, N.C.—Five members of the Duke wrestling team have been named to the All-ACC Academic Team as announced by the league office Thursday. The Blue Devils’ five selections were tied for the most with NC State and marks the fourth time since 2013 Duke has had five representatives on the team.
Jacob Kasper headlines the Duke contingent with his fourth selection, while Thayer Atkins garners his second nod. Josh Finesilver, Matt Finesilver and Alec Schenk all were recognized for the first time. The Finesilver pair was two of three true freshmen voted to the 20-man squad, while Kasper was one of six All-Americans on the team.
Kasper, a sociology and cultural anthropology major, had a memorable season in capturing his second All-America award with a career-best fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Along the way to his podium finish, Kasper broke the Duke single-season wins record with a 38 and became the fourth Blue Devil to reach 100 career victories. The 2018 ACC Champion at heavyweight, Kasper went undefeated in league action and lost just two matches during the regular season. He completed his career with a 107-38 record and left his name in the Duke history book as the lone Blue Devil to win a Southern Scuffle title after he captured a second consecutive crown in 2018.
Atkins, Duke’s starter at 125 pounds for each of the past four seasons, went 14-15 this past season and 2-3 against league opponents. He grabbed fifth at the Keystone Classic and had a crucial pin as the Blue Devils avenged last year’s loss to Navy in Cameron this season. A sociology major, Atkins will graduate in May.
Josh was one of Duke’s five NCAA qualifiers this year, earning an at-large spot at 133 pounds. He finished his rookie campaign with a 20-19 overall record, took second in the freshmen and sophomore division of the Hokie Open and was third at the Keystone Classic. He, along with his brothers Matt and Mitch, is one of five true freshmen in Duke history to reach the NCAA Championships.
Wrestling at 174 pounds, Matt had an outstanding rookie season with a 26-11 overall record and an NCAA Championship berth. He captured the title in the freshmen and sophomore division of the Hokie Open, took fifth at the Keystone Classic and made the podium in eighth at the prestigious Southern Scuffle.
Schenk, a sociology major, competed at 197 pounds this season and recorded a career-best 20 victories. He opened the 2017-18 campaign with a fifth-place showing at the Hokie Open and came up just shy of earning an NCAA Championship bid. His 20 wins this past season were eight more than he had the previous year and six more than he had the previous two seasons combined.
Duke went 7-7 overall in duals, finished a record fifth of 34 teams at the Southern Scuffle and garnered a program-best 22nd-place finish at the NCAA Championships. It marked the first time in Blue Devil wrestling history they finished in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships.