It would have been easy for Duke to take a step back this year after three-time All-American Conner Hartmann graduated.

But redshirt junior Jacob Kasper has stepped up to replace Hartmann's production all year and helped the Blue Devils to a nearly identical finish at the NCAA championship.

The fourth-seeded heavyweight finished sixth to become Duke's third All-American in program history and highlight the team's 32nd-place showing with 9.5 points at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Kasper made it all the way to the semifinals—a feat Hartmann accomplished just once in his illustrious career—but lost his last three bouts to drop in the consolation bracket.

Kasper started the weekend with two takedowns in an easy 5-0 decision against Gage Hutchison of Eastern Michigan Thursday before beating N.C. State's Mike Kosoy 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals.

In another low-scoring bout, Kasper defeated fifth-seeded Nick Nevills of Penn State Friday night to lock up All-American honors. The Lexington, Ohio, native jumped out to a 3-0 lead through two rounds and held on for the win to earn a meeting with top-seeded Kyle Snyder of Ohio State.

The semifinal bout was never close, with the Olympic gold medalist Snyder seizing an early lead and never letting up in a 19-6 win. The Buckeye heavyweight went on to win his second straight national title Saturday night.

Things unraveled from there for Kasper in the consolation bracket, as No. 7 seed Tanner Hall of Arizona State scored seven points in the first round on his way to an 8-4 win Saturday night. In the fifth-place match, Nevills avenged his loss from a day earlier in dramatic fashion.

Kasper took an early 2-0 lead against Nevills again with a first-round takedown, but Nevills jumped in front 3-2 in the third round with a takedown. Although a late escape from Kasper forced overtime, Nevills escaped in overtime to earn the 4-3 win and fifth place in the nation.

Kasper finished the year 30-6, with a 20-bout winning streak in the middle of the year helping him rise from out of the rankings into the top five, and was a rare bright spot in Duke's 4-9 season that saw the Blue Devils finish last in the ACC. Although he has one more year of eligibility next year, he will need some help for Duke to become a consistent top-25 program.

The Blue Devils' other two competitors at the NCAA championship—senior Connor Bass and redshirt junior Jake Faust—did not advance past Friday morning. Bass got pinned by No. 16 seed Christian Brucki in his first bout Thursday. He rebounded by winning a 4-2 decision against Minnesota's Christopher Pfarr in the consolation bracket, but got eliminated Friday in a back-and-forth 13-11 loss to No. 15 seed Trace Engelkes.

Faust bowed out quickly Thursday with lopsided losses against No. 9 seed Joshua Shields and No. 8 seed Jake Short.