The Tar Heels (12-7, 4-1) will share the dual meet title with NC State, who defeated Virginia Tech on Friday to finish with a similar 4-1 mark in the ACC.
After the teams drew 174 to start the match, Duke started with a win from No. 16 Matt Finesilver over Devin Kane. But No. 14 Chip Ness began to swing the momentum for Carolina, picking up a 15-7 major decision over Kaden Russell. The Tar Heel redshirt senior surrendered two takedowns in the first period, but stormed back to pick up a win in his final dual-meet match at UNC.
Duke took the match at 197, but UNC responded with a pair of tech falls in the next two matches to flip the script. Redshirt senior Cory Daniel answered with a 22-7 tech fall over Aarad Fisher to put Carolina back on top, 9-6. After that on the other end of the lineup, Joe Heilmann used a flurry of takedowns in the first and second periods to cruise, winning 22-6 over Duke sophomore Harrison Campbell.
Out of the intermission, Gary Wayne Harding kept the fireworks rolling with a pin of Arien Leigh. After leading by a wide margin early in the second period, Harding used a quick move to get Leigh on his back and collect the win via fall. That gave Carolina a 20-6 lead in the team score.
After Duke’s Josh Finesilver picked up a dramatic 12-10 win over A.C. Headlee in the last five seconds, No. 7 Mitch Finesilver won in a tight match against No. 4 Austin O’Connor, 6-4.
Finesilver led in the third period, but an O’Connor takedown was able to tie things up with about a minute to go. Finesilver though, in his last home match as a Blue Devil, capitalized late and scored on a takedown and a strong ride-out to cut Carolina’s lead to 20-12.
But at 157 pounds, Josh McClure was able to seal the deal for Carolina and secure the win and the regular-season dual meet title. McClure finished a hard-fought seven minutes and beat Benjamin Anderson, 10-5.
Duke’s Zach Finesilver closed out the night with a 13-3 win over Sawyer Davidson, but Carolina’s early dominance proved to be too tough, giving UNC a 23-16 win.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” said head coach Coleman Scott after the win. “We faced our fair share of adversity this season, but we never quit. You saw that tonight. These guys deserve to be rewarded for the work they put in this year. You can never take ‘champion’ away. It’s great for our guys, our program, it’s great for everyone who has had a hand in building Carolina Wrestling over the past few years. I can’t tell you how proud I am.”
With dual meet season wrapped up, the Tar Heels will begin preparation for the ACC Championships. They will take place Saturday, March 9 in Blacksburg, Virginia.
For more coverage of the team’s dual meet title, follow Carolina Wrestling on Twitter and Instagram (@uncwrestling).
174: #16 Matt Finesilver (DU) dec. Devin Kane (UNC), 5-0 – Duke leads, 3-0
184: #14 Chip Ness (UNC) maj. dec. Kaden Russell (DU), 15-7 – UNC leads, 4-3
197: Alec Schenk (DU) dec. Brandon Whitman (UNC), 3-2 – Duke leads, 6-4
285: Cory Daniel (UNC) tech fall Araad Fisher (DU), 22-7 (6:33) – UNC leads, 9-6
125: Joe Heilmann (UNC) tech fall Harrison Campbell (DU), 22-6 (5:57) – UNC leads, 14-6
133: Gary Wayne Harding (UNC) pinned Arien Leigh (DU), 4:23 – UNC leads, 20-6
141: Josh Finesilver (DU) dec. A.C. Headlee (UNC), 12-10 – UNC leads, 20-9
149: #7 Mitch Finesilver (DU) dec. #4 Austin O’Connor (UNC), 6-4 – UNC leads, 20-12
157: Josh McClure (UNC) dec. Benjamin Anderson (DU), 10-5 – UNC leads, 23-12
165: Zach Finesilver (DU) maj. dec. Sawyer Davidson (UNC), 12-3 – UNC wins, 23-16