CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. –Jacob Kasper advanced to the semifinals of the championship heavyweight bracket to highlight day one of the 2017 Southern Scuffle presented by Compound Clothing Sunday. Overall, four Blue Devils advanced to the second day of competition to put Duke in 18th with 20.5 points.
Mitch Finesilver, Kasper, Connor Bass and Cole Baumgartner all will compete Monday for spots on the podium. Finesilver and Kasper held true to their seeds to move into the quarterfinals, while Bass scored an upset to move on in the top bracket at 174.
Seeded fifth at heavyweight, Kasper cruised in his opening bout with a 9-0 major decision over Patrik Garren. After a long layoff between matches, the veteran Blue Devil used an escape in the second period and riding time bonus point to edge Northern Iowa’s JJ Everard 2-0. In his quarterfinal matchup against eighth-ranked Denzel Dejournette, Kasper came out of the gates quickly for a 6-0 lead.
Dejournette quickly answered with six unanswered points to tie the bout and scored an escape early in the second for a 7-6 advantage. Kasper scored a reversal in the third period and built up his riding time to earn the 9-7 victory over the eighth-ranked Mountaineer. A meeting with top-seeded and 11th-ranked Austin Schafer of Oklahoma State as Kasper looks to score another upset.
Wrestling unattached and seeded eighth at 157 pounds, Finesilver was outstanding on day one. He needed just over three minutes to finish off Raider Lofthouse of Utah Valley in a 16-0 technical fall and added a 13-4 major decision over Tar Heel Joey Moon to secure a quarterfinal spot where he met third-ranked Joe Smith of Oklahoma State. Finesilver battled the top-seeded 157-pounder tough, but ultimately couldn’t score on the sophomore in a 3-2 decision. Paul Fox awaits the eighth-seeded Finesilver in the consolation bracket Monday morning.
Bass, riding a strong start for the 2016-17 season, scored his first win with a 4-1 decision over Air Force’s Michael Billingsley. Up against sixth-seeded Jim Wilson of Stanford, the Illinois native grabbed a 1-0 lead and eventually won on injury default. In a quarterfinal match and preview of the ACC dual against North Carolina, Bass fell to eighth-ranked Ethan Ramos 11-5. He’ll look to rebound in the consolation bracket against Andrew Morgan of Campbell.
Baumgartner joined a quartet of Duke wrestlers who won their opening matches of the day with a convincing 13-2 major decision over Stanford’s Peter Russo. The Missouri transfer fell to the consolation bracket with a setback to No. 4 seed Mark Grey of Cornell, but rebounded in the consolation bracket with a seven-point second period to record a 9-2 victory over Philip Anderson of Gardner Webb. Baumgartner finished the evening with a strong 6-2 decision over Durbin Lloren. He will face No. 7 seed Colby Smith of Appalachian State to start the second day of wrestling.
Michael Monica started his day with a victory at 149 pounds, besting Chattanooga’s Dylanger Potter by a 3-2 decision. The redshirt freshman pulled out with an injury in the first period of his match against No. 2 seed Anthony Collica of Oklahoma.
Day two of the Southern Scuffle gets underway Monday, Jan. 2 at 10 a.m., (ET). The day starts with fifth-round consolation matches. The championship semifinals featuring Kasper start at 12 p.m. Medal matches start at 7 p.m.