BOONE, N.C.—Duke won five of the night’s final six bouts to rally from a 15-0 deficit in a thrilling 25-19 comeback victory over Appalachian State in wrestling dual action tonight at Varsity Gym. The Blue Devils scored bonus points in three of the final four matches to post their fourth victory of the year.
After falling behind 15-0 after the opening three matches, the Blue Devils dropped just one bout in the final seven duals to improve to 4-7 overall on the year. Appalachian State falls to 4-7 with the loss.
“These guys wrestled well, it was crazy,” said head coach Glen Lanham. “We had that forfeit and we just fell in that hole early, but our guys wrestled and stepped up and wrestled hard. We could easily have tucked our tails and given up, but they fought back and I’m proud of that. We’ll have a day off and then we’re back at it against Virginia Tech.”
The Mountaineers jumped all over Duke, getting six points from a forfeit at 125, a pin at 133 and a decision at 141 for the 150 lead.
Redshirt freshman Jake Faust sparked the Blue Devils’ comeback at 149 pounds with a 5-0 blanking of Aaron Scott. Scoreless in the first period, Faust picked up a takedown late in the second period and added three more points in the final stanza to remain undefeated in duals. He is 9-4 overall and 3-0 in duals on the year for the Blue Devils.
At 157 pounds, redshirt junior Immanuel Kerr-Brown pulled out yet another close victory in a 9-7 decision over Nick Hall. Following a low-scoring first period, Kerr-Brown and Hall traded points over the course of the next two minutes with Kerr-Brown heading into the final session with a 5-4 edge.
Kerr-Brown on top to start the third period was whistled for stalling as Hall escaped to give the Mountaineer a 6-5 advantage with 1:37 remaining. The Rome, Ga., native responded for Duke with a takedown, but he couldn’t hold on as Hall escaped again to make it 7-7 with just 45 seconds to go. Looking for his seventh win by two or fewer points this year, Kerr-Brown scored the takedown with just two seconds left for his 15th win of the campaign and eight dual win of the year.
Appalachian State picked up a decision at 165 to increase the lead to 18-6 with four matches remaining. Needed bonus points in virtually all four bouts to come away with the victory, redshirt sophomore Trey Adamson started the trend with 23-9 major decision at 174 pounds.
Adamson dominated Adrian Soto-Perez throughout the seven minutes as he picked up takedown after takedown for his team-best seventh major decision of the year. Scoring just one takedown in the first period, the final four minutes were all Duke as Adamson scored 10 takedowns for the win. He is 12-7 overall and 7-4 in duals this season.
The comeback continued with Andrew DeHart at 184. Normally wrestling at 165, DeHart tried to get Dominick Vetell on his back early and nearly got pinned himself. The redshirt sophomore regrouped and took another shot and put Vetell on his back for the pin in just 1:34. The fall, DeHart’s second of the year, brought Duke to within two, 18-16 with two bouts left.
Wrestling up from his normal 184 position, freshman Jacob Kasper followed suit with a second consecutive pin for the Blue Devils after 3:35. The six points gave Duke its first lead of the night 22-18 with just the heavyweight match left.
Redshirt sophomore Conner Hartmann closed out the match for Duke with a narrow 5-3 decision. A tight bout throughout, Hartmann scored a late two-point nearfall in the third period to edge Denzel Dejournette for his 12th win of the campaign.
Duke returns to action Friday, Jan. 24 against No. 17 Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils and Hokies will wrestle at Charlotte Latin in Charlotte, N.C. Admission is $5 with proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. The first bout is set for 7:30 p.m.