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Hartmann's third-place finish paces Duke wrestling

Senior Diego Bencomo finished second in the 184-pound weight class last weekend at the Hokie Open.

Last weekend, Duke freshman Conner Hartmann won the 197-pound title at the Hokie Open. The ACC Co-Wrestler of the Week continued his success Sunday at the Michigan State Open with a third-place finish in his weight class. Three of the other eight Blue Devils in the tournament won at least one bout in their respective weight classes.

Prior to Sunday, Duke had never participated in the Michigan State Open, a long-standing tournament known for the high caliber of its participants. The tournament field featured five teams ranked in the Top 25.

“The Hokie Open was tough, but the depth wasn’t there,” Blue Devil head coach Glen Lanham said. “[The Michigan State Open] was a deep tournament.”

After Sunday’s action, Hartmann boasts an 8-1 record on the season.

In his first two matches of the day, Hartmann beat Michigan State sophomore Nick McDiarmid in a 9-5 decision and Central Michigan freshman Jackson Lewis in a 4-1 decision. The Blue Devil fell short in his semifinal bout, though, losing to Ohio State sophomore Andrew Campalottano, who qualified for the 2012 NCAA Championships. Hartmann bounced back with a 10-3 win against Olivet junior Logan Renas, advancing to the consolation bracket championship. The Washington native took third place in the 197-pound division after outlasting Michigan State sophomore Luke Jones 5-4.

“He wrestled really well,” Lanham said. “His offensive structure improved, and he started to attack a lot better. I’m really pleased with his performance.”

Duke senior Diego Bencomo and junior Brian Self also won their first matches of the day. In the 184-pound weight class, Bencomo defeated Columbia junior Drew Rebling 9-5. Self, who competed in the 197-pound division, downed Findlay junior Ashton Brown 3-1 before falling to Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore, the top-ranked wrestler in the country. After losing to Michigan freshman Connor Brancheau in the 165-pound weight class, Blue Devil sophomore Randy Roden rebounded with a 6-4 decision in overtime against Central Michigan junior Zack Cline.

Lanham set three primary goals for the Blue Devils going into the tournament—getting on their offensive firsts, riding time and competing their hardest in every match.

“We came up short on two of those goals,” Lanham said. “We didn’t attack first, we didn’t really hold anybody down and get riding time like we did last week and we didn’t compete for the full seven minutes in every match. We definitely have to improve in those areas.”

Lanham noted that failing to achieve the third goal—competing for the full seven minutes—was his team’s downfall Sunday. He hopes that working on putting together complete matches, in addition to the returns of senior Peter Terrezza and sophomore Brandon Gambucci who were sidelined due to injury in the first two tournaments, will yield better results for Duke when it travels to Philadelphia, Pa. next weekend for the Keystone Classic.

“We need to step up to the challenge and string seven minutes together,” Lanham said. “We’re wrestling for five minutes and not the other two minutes. [Terrezza and Gambucci] definitely could have made an impact in this tournament. It’s tough when you don’t have all your starters in the lineup for sure, so once they’re healthy we’re going to be a stronger team.”

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