For the time first time in history, a Duke wrestler finished on the podium at the prestigious Cliff Keen Open. 

Redshirt senior and team captain Jacob Kasper, seeded third in the invitational’s heavyweight bracket and ranked sixth nationally, finished third in a bracket featuring No. 2 Adam Coon of Michigan and No. 4 Tanner Hall of Arizona State to highlight the Blue Devils' performances in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center Friday and Saturday.

Although only one Duke wrestler successfully advanced to day two, Duke placed 25th out of 46 teams, a sharp improvement on its last time at the tournament seven years ago, when it finished 30th of 36 teams.

Kasper won his first three matches against wrestlers from Cornell, Brown and Columbia to advanec to Saturday's semifinals, where he was matched up with Hall. Although Kasper kept the score even at one apiece after two rounds, Hall was able to get Kasper on his back with seven seconds left in the third and final period. Despite the tough loss, he bounced back with a 15-0 win in the consolation bracket to advance to the third-place match. 

In a rematch from the Hokie Open against No. 13 Nathan Butler of Stanford, Kasper’s last-second takedown resulted in a 3-1 victory. He wrapped up the fall with a record of 13-2.

Redshirt junior Alec Schenk, at 197 pounds, narrowly missed making day two, finishing 3-2 at the Cliff Keen Open. After defeating Ryan Brandt of Fresno State, Schenk lost 9-2 versus No. 5 Kevin Beazley of Michigan. Despite posting two consecutive wins afterwards, Schenk’s run ended with a 5-3 loss to Rocco Caywood of Army. This was the second meeting of the fall between the two after Schenk lost to Caywood in a major decision at the Hokie Open. 

Senior Thayer Atkins, at 125 pounds, advanced to the consolation bracket Round of 16 amid tough competition before losing to No. 14 Luke Welch of Purdue. Atkins wrapped up his day 2-2, with his other loss to No. 3 Ethan Lizak of Minnesota. 

The youngest two of the four Finesilver brothers on the Blue Devils’ roster—Josh and Matt—also put up strong fights. Although Josh, at 133 pounds, and Matt, at 174 pounds, finished their days 2-2 and 1-2, respectively, the Open was just their second time matching up against ranked opponents. The other freshmen on the roster—Jeremiah Reitz at 141 pounds and Kaden Russell at 184—each finished 1-2. 

Redshirt sophomore Brandon Leynaud finished Friday 1-2 at 149 pounds, and sophomore Garet Neff was 0-2 at 165 pounds.

The Blue Devils will start the New Year at the Southern Scuffle from Jan. 1-2 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.