PEYTON WILLIAMS PHOTO BLOG
Local photographer Peyton Williams will be spending 2017-18 chronicling the Duke wrestling season through a photo blog. Make sure you follow Peyton Williams on social media and through his photo blog here: htt
https://www.accphotos.com/blog/tag/2018-duke-wrestling-story/. He will take in practice and weight room sessions as well as documenting moments in the athletic training room and in matches over the course of the season to give an inside look at the program.
Peyton Williams on Social Media
RECAPPING THE HOKIE OPEN
Duke placed six wrestlers among the top six at the 2017 Hokie Open last weekend. The Blue Devils brought home three titles, a runner-up and two fifth-place finishes. Kasper repeated at heavyweight, while Mitch Finesilver captured top honors in his first action as a 157-pounder. Rookie Matt Finesilver won the 174-pound division in the freshman and sophomore. Freshmen Josh Finesilver and Ben Anderson took runner-up at 133 and fifth at 157 pounds. Redshirt junior Alec Schenk also finished on the podium, taking fifth at 197 pounds.
KASPER GARNERS DUKE STUDENT-ATHLETE OF THE WEEK HONORS
Jacob Kasper cruised through his competition at the Hokie Open to take the top spot on the podium at heavyweight. The preseason No. 6 heavyweight, Kasper won his first three bouts easily with a fall, tech fall and major decision to setup a match against No. 15 Nathan Butler of Stanford. He headed into the third period with Butler all even, 3-3, and on bottom to start the final two minutes. He escaped eight seconds in and the scored a takedown as time started ticking down for the 6-4 victory. It was his first ranked win of the year.
Kasper stayed put in the polls, coming in at No. 6 in the InterMat and FloWrestling polls and fifth in the Open Mat rankings. He is the top-ranked ACC heavyweight and one of two in the top 20. Mitch Finesilver bumped up one spot to 10th at 157 pounds by InterMat. He jumped over Stanford’s Paul Fox after the Cardinal 157-pounder lost in the semifinals to Larry Early III. Finesilver had no problem with Early in the final, winning by major decision, 8-0. He is also the highest ranked ACC wrestler and one of two in the top 20.
LOOKING AHEAD TO KEYSTONE CLASSIC
The 2017 Keystone Classic hosted by University of Pennsylvania features a solid lineup with a host of ranked wrestlers set to compete. Reigning national champion Penn State returns to defend its team title, bringing along five wrestlers who won NCAA championships last season and enter 2017 ranked No. 1 at their respective weights. Four of those wrestlers who went on to win a NCAA title – Zain Retherford, Jason Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph, and Bo Nickal – started their seasons with championships at the Keystone Classic last November. Six of Penn State's seven Keystone Classic champions from last year are slated to return for another crack at the top spot this November.
Mitch Finesilver could see his first top 20 foe as preseason Nos. 1, 9 and 20 are penciled in the brackets. Including No. 6 Kasper, the heavyweight group features the country’s fourth, 10th, 16th, and 19th-ranked wrestlers.
SCHENK SHAKES OFF SEASON-OPENING LOSS
Alec Schenk dropped his season-opening match at the Hokie Open to Army West Point’s Rocco Caywood, but rebounded in a big way in winning five straight matches to take fifth at the Hokie Open. The Ohio native, wrestling an exhausting five straight matches, continuously outlasted his opponents in winning by decision each time. In two of those victories, he used strong third periods to ice the victories, a testament to his fitness level.
10 FRESHMEN MAKE COLLEGIATE DEBUTS
Ten true freshmen made their collegiate debuts last Sunday in Roanoke, combining to go 20-16 overall. In addition to those 10, redshirt freshman Colten Thomas saw the mat for the first time after missing last season to injury. Anderson and Josh and Matt Finesilver each placed, while Eric Carter and Kaden Russell advanced to the consolation semifinals.
FIVE RANKED OPPONENTS AWAIT DUKE IN 2018
The Blue Devils are slated to dual six teams currently ranked in the top 25, including two in the top 10 and three in the top 20. Four of the six hail from the ACC – Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and North Carolina – with the other two being Navy and Wyoming.
|Jan. 6||vs. Wyoming||19|
|Jan. 19||NC State||9|
|Feb. 14||at North Carolina||25|
FINISHING THE CALENDAR YEAR IN LAS VEGAS
The Blue Devils close out the 2017 portion of their season at the Cliff Keen Open in Las Vegas, Dec. 1-2. One of the premier tournaments west of the Mississippi, the Cliff Keen Open will give Duke a chance to see wrestlers from the Pac 12, Big 12 and other schools from the west who don’t visit the East Coast or the Southern Scuffle. It’s a great opportunity to build a quality NCAA resume.