Duke secured a big win Friday at Davidson, defeating the Wildcats by a score of 19-17. The Blue Devils responded well after their disappointing showing at the Keystone Classic several weeks ago, winning several key duels while still remaining competitive in their few defeats.
After the match, head coach Glen Lanham praised his wrestlers for taking advantage of the short break in matches to make significant improvements.
“I think in the majority of the matches, you could see that our conditioning was superior,” Lanham said. “Some of [our wrestlers] made really good adjustments, some of them have to work on some things. But overall, you’re going to take the win.”
The score was tied 6-6 after the opening duels. Midway through, however, the Blue Devils (3-4) began to build a significant advantage thanks to major decision victories by senior Connor Barket (285 lbs) and freshman standout Raymond Adams (133 lbs). Adams’ win against Davidson’s John Hager was particularly notable, as it was the Merrick, N.Y., native’s first of his collegiate career and took place over a much more experienced opponent.
Lanham spoke highly of the victorious freshman.
“In my opinion, Raymond Adams won us the duel,” Lanham said. “I mean, they were expecting an upperclassman to get a win over a freshman that didn't have a win throughout the whole year. But, hats off to Raymond. He had a good game plan, he worked on it, kept being persistent and ended up getting a major win.”
After senior Logan Agin (125 lbs) secured a massive victory by technical fall, Duke extended its lead to 19-9. Then, despite a late surge by the Wildcats (0-4), the Blue Devils withstood the charge and held on to their advantage to seize the victory.
While it may be too early to know whether Friday’s match will be a turning point for Duke’s season, the combination of a strong veteran presence and improved performances from talented freshmen bodes well for the team. Lanham has talked at length about the importance of setting an example for the underclassmen, an area in which he thinks the Blue Devils have made big strides this season.
“I think if you look at Logan Agin, if you look at Conor Becker, those guys that are going out and they're winning matches,” Lanham said. “They're doing the right things in the room and that's paying off. It's a good model for our freshmen to see that if they continue to work hard, they can have success too.”
While Lanham was very pleased with the victory, he also stressed the need to avoid complacency while building on the momentum established Friday.
“We've just got to make sure that we temper the highs and the lows,” he said. “I mean, it's a win for us. We did some good things. We did some bad things. But obviously there's a lot of improvement that we need, from top to bottom and we're just gonna continue to make sure that we improve.”
Next up, Duke will travel to Charlotte Dec. 19, looking to build on their momentum during their double-header against The Citadel and Queens.
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