CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. –The Duke wrestling team capped its most successful performance at the Southern Scuffle Tuesday night, landing four on the podium and taking fifth overall in the team race. Jacob Kasper highlighted the Blue Devil performance by winning his second consecutive heavyweight crown.
Mitch Finesilver took runner-up honors at 157 pounds, while Luke Farinaro finished seventh at 197 and Matt Finesilver eighth in the 174-pound bracket. The four top-eight finishes are a program-best, while the fifth-place showing is the highest in school history. The previous best finish was 12th in 2016.
Kasper, seeded second in the heavyweight bracket, upended seventh-ranked Mike Hughes in the semifinal to keep his hopes of a title alive. The redshirt senior used an escape in the second period and then tacked on another point for riding time for the 2-0 victory.
Already owning the lone Scuffle title in Duke history, Kasper matched up against NC State’s Michael Boykin in search of his second. Neither was able to score in the first period and Kasper was the first on the board with an escape early in the second. Boykin matched that in the third and the ACC rivals headed to overtime. With time ticking down under five, Kasper took advantage of Boykin’s missed shot and scored the takedown with three seconds left and a 3-1 victory. He is now 18-2 on the season and owns 82 career victories.
Mitch found his way to his first Southern Scuffle championship match with a commanding 9-1 major decision over Garrett Hammond. He dominated from the opening whistle and Hammond had no answer for Mitch over the course of the seven minutes.
In the title bout, the redshirt junior fell to top-ranked and reigning NCAA Champion Jason Nolf by pin in the first period. Finesilver, ranked 10th nationally, jumped five spots from his seventh-place finish in 2017.
In consolation bracket action, both Farinaro and Matt suffered hard-fought setbacks to land in the seventh-place matches. Matt is the first Duke rookie to land on the Scuffle podium.
Duke opens its dual season Jan. 5 with the Carolina Duals. The Blue Devils will wrestle Army West Point, America and Wyoming in the day-long event at Carmichael Arena.