Duke wrestling continues losing skid, falls at home to N.C. State

With their loss to N.C. State, the Blue Devils still have yet to win an ACC match this season.
With their loss to N.C. State, the Blue Devils still have yet to win an ACC match this season.

Duke’s disappointing season continued Sunday against No. 8 N.C. State in Cameron Indoor Stadium, as the Blue Devils fell by a score of 36-9. The contest began with a celebration of Duke’s six senior wrestlers, and ended in a thoroughly dominant Wolfpack victory. The Blue Devils’ defeat was the team’s seventh in a row, and 31st consecutive in ACC play across the past six years. 

Veterans Logan Agin (125 pounds), Gaetano Console (165 pounds), and Conor Becker (184 pounds) were particularly disappointing on the day, each falling in convincing fashion to much less experienced opponents. Agin’s defeat in the day’s first duel set the tone for the rest of the match, as the senior lost by technical fall against N.C. State’s Troy Hohman. Then, midway through the contest, Console was surprisingly outmatched by the Wolfpack’s Derek Fields, losing by decision 11-4 and virtually sealing Duke’s defeat. Becker’s loss two duels later further imbalanced the match’s final score.

“We’re [too] hesitant to engage and move forward, and that’s what’s killing us as a team,” head coach Glen Lanham said after the match. “Going forward, wrestling forward, wrestling hard, we gotta figure that out.” 

Despite the loss and the grim final score, there were a few bright spots for the Blue Devils (4-12, 0-4 in the ACC) on the day. Captains Jarred Papcsy (149 pounds) and sophomore Connor Barket (285 pounds) each picked up massive victories to prevent a shutout, while freshman Raymond Adams (133 pounds) was competitive in a close defeat. 

Papcsy’s victory was particularly notable as it came against his former team. The Nazareth, Pa., native spent four years with the Wolfpack, graduating in 2022 before transferring to Duke for his final years of eligibility. Papcsy almost won by fall in the first minute, but his opponent narrowly escaped a headlock. The Blue Devil captain then held on to his early advantage, earning perhaps the most meaningful victory of his Duke career by a 7-3 decision. 

“It’s always good when you go against your former team, and you go out and get a win for yourself, for your family, and for the program,” Lanham said. “It’s great to see him get the win. You go out in your last match ever in [Cameron] against [your former] team and get a big win.”

As for Barket, the sophomore bounced back from a string of rough losses by defeating N.C. State’s Chase Horne by fall. Throughout the early part of the duel and especially in the first period, it looked like the Blue Devil star would be bested by his opponent. However, midway into the second period, Barket used Horne’s momentum against him, threw his rival to the ground and seized the opportunity by securing the fall. 

On Friday, Duke closes out the regular season in Chapel Hill against rival North Carolina. A victory against the Tar Heels would not only end the Blue Devils’ disastrous ACC losing streak, but would be a nice conclusion to an otherwise underwhelming season.


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