CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.-The Duke University wrestling team opened 2012 today at the Southern Scuffle hosted by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Blue Devils battled hard through the first day of competition and sit in 17th of 23 teams with 19 points.
Freshman Marcus Cain, wrestling unattached at 149 pounds, is still alive in the consolation bracket after advancing to the quarterfinal round of the championship bracket. Cain posted a pair of victories before falling to 14th-ranked Kyle Bradley by a narrow 5-3 decision. The rookie 149-pounder will resume wrestling against Christop Villalonga for a chance to earn a berth in the consolation quarterfinal round.
At 133 pounds, redshirt freshman Brandon Gambucci captured 12-0 major decision in his opening match before suffering an injury in the third round. Freshman Tanner Hough, competing at 141 pounds, registered a major decision and a fall before losing to Minnesota's 10th-ranked Nick Dardanes. Hough came back and suffered a tough overtime loss to Undrakhb Khishignyam.
Redshirt senior A.J. Guardado lost his opening bout before rebounding for two victories in the wrestlebacks, including a first-period fall. Redshirt freshman Immanuel Kerr-Brown fared the same fate at 157 pounds with two triumphs in the consolation bracket. Kerr-Brown registered a pin in just 1:24 over teammate Andrew DeHart in the first wrestleback bout and defeated Chattanooga's Alex Kooser by a 7-2 decision for his 10th win of the season.
Competing at 165 pounds, sophomore Ryan Harding picked up consecutive decisions over William Connell of The Citadel and Joe Latham of Oregon State before falling to third-ranked Paul Gillespie from Hofstra. Harding saw his day end in the wrestleback with a loss to Nick Rex of Campbell.