With the exception of freshman Conner Hartmann’s third-place finish in the 197-pound weight class, last weekend was a losing weekend for Duke at the Michigan State Open. After turning their attention to the weaknesses they showed at the tournament in practice this week, the Blue Devils hope to achieve better results at the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia this weekend.
“It’s going to be a tough tournament, but it doesn’t have the same depth as the Michigan State Open,” Duke head coach Glen Lanham said. “This is a good time for our guys—we had a week of recovery from the Michigan State Open.”
Lanham noted that after stopping a move, wrestlers would get complacent and fail to wrestle through that position, which cost them when their opponents would counter and take them down. The Blue Devils worked on wrestling through positions in practice this week, as well as performing better on the bottom position, increasing their mental toughness and putting together a full seven minutes.
They hope that their focus on these areas will help, though they are not overly concerned with their results in the tournament.
“I’m not stressed out right now about our performance in these tournaments,” Lanham said. “If you lose every single match up to ACCs and put it together at ACCs and win, you’re going to nationals. I tell these guys, ‘Don’t get down about the Michigan State Open.’ Learn from it, and if you can put it together at ACCs, you’re going to go to nationals. No one’s going to ask you on the podium at NCAAs, ‘Hey, did you win the Michigan State Open?’”
Peter Terrezza echoed this sentiment.
“At this point in the season, you’re either winning or you’re learning,” the senior said. “We’re still going through the learning process and only preparing for two tournaments—ACCs and nationals. Those are the only two we value.”
Terrezza, as well as sophomore Brandon Gambucci, will return to action this weekend after being sidelined due to injury at the Hokie Open and the Michigan State Open.
“[Brandon] is pretty much my workout partner every day and is one of the hardest workers in the room,” Terrezza said. “I’m really excited for me and him to get out there kind of as a team and as drill partners and compete.”
The Blue Devils have a tough weekend ahead of them, and their grueling schedule on the road does not end there. After Thanksgiving break, they will travel to Ann Arbor, Mi. to open the duel-meet season against Michigan, ranked 16th in the country. Lanham believes that their challenging schedule will prove advantageous.
“Last year our guys weren’t battle-tested, and we didn’t perform,” he said. “I guarantee you that this year we will be battle-tested, and we will perform.”