Henderson said he just tried not to think too much or become intimidated by the level of competition while he was wrestling his way to a second-place finish.
“(The results of the invitational) told me that I can wrestle with these guys, with the top guys,” he said. “It was my first international tournament and I went out and tried to kick butt.”
Meanwhile, Henderson’s teammates were busy competing in the Hokie Open, a day-long tournament held at Virginia Tech. It was the first competition of the wrestling season.
Senior Alex Utley and sophomore Ethan Ramos were both champions in the 184-pound and 165-pound weight classes, respectively. Redshirt sophomore Joey Ward and redshirt junior John Michael Staudenmayer also performed well, both placing second in their weight classes.
“Generally, I’m very pleased at the level of competition and the way our guys competed,” Mock said. “I thought all the guys competed pretty well.”
Despite strong performances from many members of the team, Mock still said that there was room to improve.
“We are not nearly as aggressive as we need to be,” he said. “We’ve worked way too hard on our conditioning to be standing around.
“I’d rather have a guy go out and lose by being too aggressive than have him win by a point because he didn’t do anything.”
Mock mentioned Ramos as someone who wrestles aggressively every time he steps onto the mat.
“I didn’t think about it at all really,” Ramos said. “That’s just naturally how I wrestle.”
With a competitive Stanford match coming up in California Saturday, Mock hopes his Tar Heels will make the necessary adjustments. Nonetheless, Mock said that he thought the Hokie Open prepared the team well.
“It’s a good way for us to start our season, because it’s not a killer tournament … but it’s a good way to start the year off,” he said.