There’s not much about wrestling that surprises Allen Henderson. He raised a pair of wrestling twins, including Evan, an All-American at North Carolina. When two combatants grapple on the mat, he knows what to look for and where to look for it.
Yet even a wrestling aficionado can concede surprise, as Allen did to Evan one day recently. They spoke about Evan’s UNC teammate Christian Barber, who pocketed his 23rd win of the season Saturday night against Stanford, good for second-most on the team behind the near-automatic Henderson.
“I think my dad said something like, ‘Holy crap, where did Barber come from?’” Evan Henderson said.
Barber, a junior, hails from Westfield, N.J., but the elder Henderson didn’t care about Barber’s hometown. He wondered, instead, how Barber, a high school titleholder in New Jersey but largely unspectacular in his first two years in Chapel Hill, could catapult to the top of UNC’s totem pole.
“I just feel more confident on the mat,” said Barber, a redshirt sophomore. “Last year, I was too hesitant starting my offense. I think I’ve just become more physical.”