As of 9 p.m. Sunday, the North Carolina wrestling team was gliding along the highway in a bus, hours still remaining on its trip back to Chapel Hill from the Nittany Lion Open in State College, Pa.
The drab drive would have been a little easier to absorb for one UNC wrestler if he was carrying first-place hardware with him.
Sophomore Evan Henderson, the Tar Heels’ top wrestler in the 141-pound division and ranked No. 17 in the class nationally, powered his way through strong competition at the open before falling 16-8 in the final to Virginia Tech’s Devin Carter.
“Henderson had a great tournament,” head coach C.D. Mock said. “Hendo is capable of winning these tournaments … He just has to be more consistent.”
Henderson pinned his first opponent in 71 seconds, and then the next two in less than three minutes each. It wasn’t until the semifinal that he was significantly challenged, and he came out with a 4-3 win against Undrakhbayar Khishignyam of the Citadel.