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Duke wrestling dominates in first tournament of the season

Three Finesilver brothers finished on the podium at Duke’s first tournament of the season.

Defending champions Mitch—ranked No. 8 at 149—and Matt—ranked No. 18 at 174—picked up their second straight Hokie Open titles at the Berglund Center in Roanoke, Va., Sunday. Josh won five matches en route to a fifth-place finish at 141.

Mitch was wrestling at the 53rd NWCA All-Star Classic in his home state of Colorado less than two days before he stepped on the mat in Virginia. Duke’s all-star dropped a 12-7 barnburner against No. 1 Matt Kolodzik of Princeton at the NWCA event, but bounced back with a resounding performance at the Berglund Center. 

The redshirt senior started his day with a pair of dominant technical falls before meeting North Carolina’s No. 17 Austin O’ Connor in the semifinals. O’ Connor kept the match close but was unable to score a takedown against Mitch, who notched a first period takedown and second period escape to win 3-2. The 149-pound Blue Devil then defeated another ranked ACC opponent, No. 14 Ryan Blees of Virginia Tech, in the finals. Mitch dominated Blees in a 6-1 win, allowing just one escape and securing a riding time point to go along with two takedowns and an escape of his own.

Another Finesilver went on a golden run in the 174-pound bracket, as Matt won the weight with three decision victories. Matt—a Freshman/Sophomore division champ at the 2017 Hokie Open—was stingy throughout the tournament, allowing zero takedowns and only three escape points in total. The finals bout pitted Matt against Devin Kane of North Carolina. Matt earned an escape followed by a takedown in the second period and tacked on a riding time point to win 4-1. 

Josh, bumping up a weight class from last season’s campaign, pinned his way to the quarterfinals at 141 before falling to Rustam Ampar of Virginia. The consolation bracket proved to be a breeze for Josh, as he posted another pin and a six-point win before scoring 20 points and securing the major decision over NC State’s AJ Leitten for fifth-place. 

Sophomore Kaden Russell tallied two wins but fell in the consolation semifinals at 184. Freshman Mason Eaglin, wrestling unattached in the Freshman/Sophomore 165 bracket, won four matches and finished one win away from placing. Redshirt junior Brandon Leynaud and sophomore Maliik Marcin each won one match at 157 and 165, respectively.

The 24th-ranked Blue Devils return to competition on Nov. 18 at the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia.


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