EAST LANSING, Mich.-Duke University redshirt freshman Conner Hartmann continued his stellar start to the 2012-13 wrestling season with a third-place finish at the Michigan State Open. The Blue Devils faced arguably their toughest tests of the year against a challenging field that featured five top 25 teams, including No. 9 Central Michigan and No. 18 Kent State.
Hartmann, fresh off of winning the Hokie Open at 197 pounds, started the day with a 9-5 decision over Michigan State's Nick McDiarmid. He fought his way past Jackson Lewis of Central Michigan 4-1 before meeting Andrew Campolattano of Ohio State in the semifinals. Up against the 2012 NCAA qualifier with a berth in the title bout on the line, Hartmann battled hard, but came up short in an 8-2 decision. The Port Orchard, Wash., native rebounded with a commanding 10-3 decision to advance to the consolation bracket championship.
In the third-place match, Hartmann faced Michigan State's own Luke Jones. In a hard-fought match by both wrestlers, Hartmann held off the Spartan sophomore 5-4 to take third overall in the bracket. Hartmann, the most recent ACC Wrestler of the Week, is 8-1 overall for the year.
Redshirt senior Diego Bencomo and junior Brian Self also were winners of their first matches of the day. At 184 pounds, 19th-ranked Bencomo downed Drew Rebling of Columbia, 9-5. He followed that with consecutive losses to move to 4-3 for the season.
Self, competing at 197 pounds, dispatched Austin Brown from Findlay, 3-1 to start the day before going up against the nation's top wrestler Dustin Kilgore of Kent State. Self fought valiantly against No. 1 Kilgore, but lost in a major decision. He finished the day with a narrow 6-3 decision to Andrew Simpson of Olivet in the consolation bracket.