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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Blue Devils Gearing Up for NCAA Championships
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/16/2017
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2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships
March 16-18 | ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN3
St. Louis, Mo. | Scottrade Center

Follow the Action

NCAA Wrestling | First Round | Second Round | Third Round (QF) | Medal Round | Finals

Setting the Scene

  • Three Blue Devils qualified for the NCAA Championships after earning automatic berths at the ACC Championships.
  • This season marks the third straight time Duke has sent at least three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships and the fifth straight year multiple Blue Devils landed in the postseason event. Prior to the 2015-16 season, Duke had never sent more than two wrestlers to NCAA Championships in consecutive seasons.
  • Duke finished sixth at the 2017 ACC Championships with 24.5 points.
  • Jacob Kasper earned the No. 4 seed at heavyweight after starting the season unranked. His No. 4 seeding matches the highest for a Blue Devil in program history - Konrad Dudziak also was the No. 4 seed at heavyweight in 2010.
  • Redshirt senior Jake Faust joins Kasper as a two-time qualifier, the 14th and 15th Blue Devils to qualify for the NCAA Championships multiple times in their careers. Connor Bass is making his debut at the event in his final season.

About the NCAA Championship

  • ESPN will provide comprehensive coverage of the NCAA Championship from Scottrade Center ... For the fourth consecutive year, all six sessions will be televised and every match carried on ESPN3 throughout the three-day competition.
    First Round: Thursday | 12-3:30 p.m. (ESPNU) | Second Round: Thursday | 7-10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
    Third Round (QF): Friday | 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (ESPNU) | Fourth Round (SF): 8-11 p.m. (ESPN)
    Medal Round: Saturday | 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (ESPNU) | Finals: 8-11 p.m. (ESPN)

Duke by the Numbers
20 - Consecutive wins for Jacob Kasper during the year before falling to Ryan Solomon of Pittsburgh in the final regular season dual
21 – Wins by Connor Bass in 2016-17, the most in his four seasons as a Blue Devil
16 – NCAA qualifiers in head coach Glen Lanham’s five seasons
46 – NCAA qualifiers in the 84 seasons of Duke wrestling prior to Lanham taking the reins
27 – Wins during the regular season for Jacob Kasper, three shy of becoming the 13th Blue Devil to win at least 30 matches in a season
2 – All-Americans in Duke program history - Konrad Dudziak (HWT) and Conner Hartmann (197)
6 – Pins by Kasper in 2016-17, one more than he had in his previous two seasons combined
3 – Blue Devils who placed at the 2017 Southern Scuffle, the most in program history
16 – Matches wrestled by Jake Faust in 2016-17 after the redshirt senior wrestled the first portion of the season unattached
4-6 - Bass’ record against top 20 opponents this season

Duke In the NCAA Championships
• Duke will have three representatives in the 2017 NCAA Championships, marking the 16th time the Blue Devils have landed multiple wrestlers in the field.
• The Blue Devils have had two All-Americans in program history in Konrad Dudziak (2009 & 2010) and Conner Hartmann (2014, 2015 and 2016).
• Duke finished a program-best 28th in 2015. The Blue Devils took 31st last season.

Recapping 2017 ACC Championships
• The Blue Devils finished sixth overall with 24.5 points and Jacob Kasper garnered his second All-ACC honor. Kasper finished second at heavyweight, falling to fourth-ranked Ty Walz of Virginia Tech in the title match.
• Connor Bass landed on the podium for the first time in his career, taking third overall at 174 pounds.
• Jake Faust advanced to the consolation final with a thrilling victory in the consolation semifinal. He defaulted by injury in the championship match to finish fourth overall.

Kasper Earns Top Five Seed
• For the third time in program history a Duke wrestler earned a top five seed as Jacob Kasper was tabbed fourth in the heavyweight bracket.
• The No. 4 seed for Kasper matches the highest seed for a Duke wrestler - Konrad Dudziak also was the four seed at heavyweight in 2010.
• A potential rematch with either Michael Kroells of Minnesota or Denzel Dejournette is on tap for Kasper. He defeated both during the regular season, besting Kroells in the Southern Scuffle title match and Dejournette in the Southern Scuffle and regular season.

vs. Michael Kroells W, Dec., 5-3
vs. Denzel Dejournette W, Dec., 9-7
vs. Denzel Dejournette W, Dec., 5-4

Kasper Back and Bigger And Better
• Redshirt junior heavyweight Jacob Kasper returned a bigger and better wrestler after taking a year off to train at the U.S. Olympic training center in Colorado. He previously wrestled two seasons for Duke at 184 pounds, but has moved up to heavyweight this season and found great success.
• Kasper started the season unranked and steadily climbed his way into the top five of the national rankings. He debuted in the top 20 Nov. 8 after winning the Southeast Open, which included a win over then-No. 16 Billy Miller of Edinboro.
• The Lexington, Ohio native went on to win the Wolfpack Open, besting NC State’s Mike Kosoy 15-4 in the title bout. He made history in January by becoming the first Blue Devil to win a Southern Scuffle title. He beat the Nos. 8, 11 and 6 wrestlers en route to the crown and earned a spot in the top 10 of the national polls.
• He cemented himself as one of the best heavyweights in the country when he dominated No. 3 Ty Walz of Virginia Tech in the third period to post a 15-7 major decision.
• Kasper put together a 20-match win streak spanning from Nov. 18 until Feb. 18 and included five top 20 wins before he fell to No. 18 Ryan Solomon of Pitt in the final regular season match.

Scouting Connor Bass
• Senior Connor Bass earned his first bid to the NCAA Championships after grabbing the third ACC automatic bid with his third-place showing at the championships.
• Bass bumped up to 174 pounds from 157 this season. He is 21-11 heading into St. Louis, a career-high in wins for the Illinois native.
• Bass put himself on everyone’s radar when he won the Southeast Open at Virginia Tech on the opening weekend. He registered an overtime win over then No. 13 Jon Schleifer in the championship bout.
• The Yorkville, Ill., native took second at the Wolfpack Open a few weeks later to remain in the national rankings.
• He had a strong showing at the Southern Scuffle, entering the prestigious tournament unseeded and taking sixth overall. He pinned Navy’s Jadaen Bernstein in overtime to keep his tournament going at the Scuffle before ultimately losing his final two bouts to the No. 5 and No. 1 seeds, respectively.

Scouting Jake Faust
• Redshirt senior Jake Faust is making a return appearance to the NCAA Championships, but at 157 pounds this season. He qualified at 165 a year ago, but felt more comfortable moving down a weight for his final campaign.
• Faust wrestled in just 16 matches this season, missing a few to injury. He competed unattached in the early season tournaments.
• The Bellville, Ohio native is one of 15 Blue Devils to qualify for the NCAA Championships multiple times and one of three to do so at two different weight classes.
• Seeded fifth at the ACC Championships, Faust upset the No. 2 seed Thomas Bullard of NC State in the consolation semifinal with a late takedown and nearfall to secure one of the four automatic berths.

Duke’s Trend under Lanham
• The Blue Devils sent multiple qualifiers to the NCAA Championships for the fifth straight season and at least three for the third straight season. Prior to last season, Duke had never sent more than two wrestlers to NCAA Championships in consecutive seasons.
• Duke received votes for two weeks in the USA Today Coaches poll this season. The Blue Devils have never been ranked in the top 25, but have finished among the top 32 teams in the NCAA the past three seasons. Prior to the team’s 29th-place finish in 2014, Duke had never finished higher than 35th and hasn’t put together three consecutive top 35 finishes.

Blue Devils in the Rankings
• Duke finished the season with four wrestlers in the final RPI and two in the NCAA Coaches’ rankings.
• Jacob Kasper is the highest ranked wrestler at No. 3 in the RPI and 5th in the coaches’ rankings. Connor Bass also is on both lists, coming in at 23 in the coaches’ poll and 21 in the RPI.
• Both Cole Baumgartner and Zach Finesilver are in the RPI, missing the cutoff for at-large bids.

133 – No. 30 Cole Baumgartner
141 – No. 33 Zach Finesilver
174 – No. 21 Connor Bass
HWT – No. 3 Jacob Kasper

NCAA Coaches Panel
174 – No. 23 Connor Bass
HWT – No. 5 Jacob Kasper