To open the Virginia Duals, the Tar Heels (1-7) will face Rider (4-4) at 11 a.m. on Friday. Like North Carolina, Rider enters the tournament unranked as a team, but the Broncs do have a wrestler ranked individually.
Jim Resnick, who wrestles at 174 pounds, is ranked 13th by InterMat Wrestling, a collegiate ranking organization.
Matched up with Resnick will be freshman Alex Utley who has had a strong first season as a Tar Heel.
Utley (10-8) placed third in the season-opening Hokie Open and is coming off a 3-1 decision in the win against Duke.
“I’d put Alex up against anybody,” Mock said. “ His style of wrestling is such that he’s very hard to score on. He’s got very good defense, particularly as a freshman.”
North Carolina will wrestle either No. 23 Edinboro or Drexel in its second match depending on the outcome of the first round. The Tar Heels bested both of those teams last season in dual matches.
The highest-ranked Tar Heel, freshman Evan Henderson, enters the tournament with a record of 19-5. Mock said that Henderson, who is ranked 14th in the 141-pound class, though he struggled in his win against Duke, has handled the jump from high school to college wrestling well and expects that to continue this weekend.
“Evan’s done a great job, he’s still making adjustments. … Last week at Duke he felt really sluggish in that match and looked sluggish,” Mock said.
“I think that also is a function of not cutting his weight right. Both he and Corey (Mock) have made some adjustments this week and should do a lot better.”
North Carolina’s only other ranked wrestler, the 157-pound Mock, was replaced in the Duke dual by Nebraska transfer Jon Burns due to severe leg cramps. Mock will be back in action this weekend, and Burns will be competing at his usual weight of 149.
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