Duke wrestling struggles in home opener, falls to Chattanooga

The Blue Devils won just two of their 10 matches against Chattanooga.
The Blue Devils won just two of their 10 matches against Chattanooga.

The rollercoaster of Duke’s season took another dip downwards Friday evening. 

The Blue Devils were outmuscled by Chattanooga, losing eight of their 10 matches with a final score of 33-11. Duke lost five matches handily, with three defeats coming by way of major decision and two of them by technical fall in their first home match of the year at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

“We’re lacking the grit,” head coach Glen Lanham said. “I thought we were capable of beating that team. They were physical, and that’s what we’re getting beat by physical teams. If we don’t figure it out real quick, we’re going to have some problems.”

Every time the Blue Devils (4-8) seemed to get a bit of momentum, it was overturned by the toughness of Chattanooga (6-2). Senior Logan Agin (125 pounds) executed a quick level change in the first round of his match, taking a hold of his opponent Brayden Palmer’s right leg. However, Palmer then overpowered Agin, reversing the takedown attempt on his way to a 9-3 victory. Sophomore Gaetano Console (165 pounds), locked into a 3-2 match halfway through the second period, had a chance to capitalize in the neutral after an escape. But, Chattanooga’s Kamdyn Munro then caught him with a quick shot and used that momentum to put Console in a cradle. The back points racked up quickly, leading to the loss. 

“The second move is tough … and that’s where we’re all lacking there as a team right now,” Lanham said. We just got to move forward. We talked about our guys moving forward and be aggressive and stay in your stance. We’re on two different pages.”

It was an especially rough showing for the three Duke freshmen in the starting lineup. Raymond Adams (133 pounds) was driven to the mat by Blake Boarman with a strong single leg at the start and never challenged the rampaging redshirt sophomore, losing 18-2. David Hussey (174 pounds) suffered an immediate takedown and instantly was forced onto his back, forfeiting significant points en route to a 18-2 technical fall loss. Lastly, 195-pound Kwasi Bonsu attempted a shot in the first round of his match, but couldn’t finish the takedown due to a hard sprawl from his opponent David Harper. Harper flawlessly used his weight to reverse the takedown and immediately score four back points, leaving Bonsu in a hole from which he would never recover. 

The Blue Devils did win two matches on the day, the first of which occurred after 184-pound senior Conor Becker aggressively swung Chattanooga’s Logan Webster for the takedown in the opening seconds of the bout. Utilizing his control, Becker slowly racked up back points as Webster tried to keep both shoulder blades off the match. Eventually, his patience and pressure paid off as Becker secured the pin a minute later, and Cameron Indoor gave its approval with a standing ovation.

“I would say he’s done everything that we tell our guys to do,” Lanham said of Becker. “Conor just attack[ed] him right away and [shut] him down. [His opponent] was never in that match.”

Sophomore Connor Barket also secured a quick takedown in the opening stages of his 285-pound match against Kendrick Curtis. The West Lafayette, Ind. native scored two back points and after Curtis escaped, Barket immediately took him down again. Although Curtis nearly rolled Barket towards the end of their bout, Barket was able to scramble enough to avoid trouble and finished the match off by completing the takedown. The 18-2 technical fall victory gave the Blue Devils five points. 

Duke begins ACC competition Friday against Virginia at home inside Cameron Indoor Stadium as a part of Duke's Centennial Celebration.

“We’re capable of beating that team,” Lanham said of Virginia. “Our guys just got to reload.”


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