DURHAM, N.C.—Duke redshirt senior Jacob Kasper and redshirt junior Mitch Finesilver will enter the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships among the top 16 seeds in their weight classes when the action starts March 15 in Cleveland, Ohio. Kasper garnered the No. 4 overall seed at heavyweight and Mitch 12th at 157 pounds.
Joining Kasper and Mitch at the NCAA Championships are Josh Finesilver (133), Zach Finesilver (165) and Matt Finesilver (174) as Duke qualified five wrestlers for the second time in program history. The tournament will be held at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio from March 15-17.
Kasper, fresh off of winning his first ACC title and extending his win streak to 23 matches, earned the fourth seed for the second consecutive year. He will wrestle AJ Nevills of Fresno State in the opening round as he looks to finish the weekend on top of the podium.
As the No. 4 seed in 2017, Kasper advanced to the NCAA semifinals to earn All-America honors before eventually taking sixth overall. The Lexington, Ohio native returns to his home state to put a cap on an already outstanding 2017-18 campaign. He enters the NCAA Championships with a 34-2 overall record and needs just three victories to break the Duke single-season wins mark. One of four wrestlers in Duke history to amass 100 career, he is 103-36 and will likely finish second on the career wins list at Duke.
Mitch, making his third appearance at the NCAA Championships, earned the highest seed of his career at No. 12. He was the 14th seed at 149 pounds in 2016 and finished one win shy of earning All-America honors. The Greenwood Village, Colo., native opens his tournament against Casey Sparkman of Kent State. Mitch is 17-4 overall on the year after taking the first portion of the season off. Ranked in the top 15 for much of the year, he is coming off of an ACC runner-up finish to the nation’s top seed Hayden Hidlay of NC State.
Zach turned in arguably two of the most memorable moments at the ACC Championships when as the sixth seed he upset the conference’s No. 2 and 3 seeds en route to a runner-up finish and an automatic spot in the NCAA Championships. He will match up against No. 2 seed David McFadden of Virginia Tech, who defeated him in the ACC title match.
Making their debuts as the fourth and fifth rookie wrestlers in Duke history to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship field, Josh and Matt both will see new opponents in their opening matches.
After earning one of five at-large bids at 133 pounds, Josh drew a matchup with No. 16 seed Mitch McKee of Minnesota. Matt also will face a tough test in top-seeded Zahid Valencia of Arizona State. Josh is 20-18 overall on the year, while Matt is 25-9.
Wrestling begins Thursday, March 15 at noon at Quicken Loans Arena. All of the action on the opening day will be televised on ESPNU and every match will be streamed on the WatchESPN.