The most anticipation surrounded Tar Heel redshirt senior Evan Henderson, who is ranked No. 1 in the country in the 141-pound weight class. Henderson advanced to the finals but fell in a 4-3 decision to No. 12 sophomore Joey McKenna from Stanford.
“He lost to a Stanford kid that I thought, come the end of the season, we might have to beat to win a national title," Scott said. "I know Evan can beat him. Evan’s just got to pick the pace up a little bit and go earn that win."
Though the Tar Heels put on a disappointing performance Sunday, the team still has high hopes for the season and a new energy under Scott’s leadership. Scott was promoted to head coach in July after the firing of C.D. Mock in June.
“I think we are very positive, and we want to compete. We’re excited, so I think if anything (Scott’s hiring) really lifted the mood of the team,” said redshirt senior Alex Utley.
“I don’t think I lived up to standards to where everybody thought I was going to be at honestly. I was a little too timid. I got caught on my laurels a little bit in that last match, and it cost me.” — Henderson on his performance during the tournament.
The tournament’s standout performer for the Tar Heels was Utley. He finished first in the 184-pound weight class with a 6-4 decision over Virginia Tech’s Zack Zavatsky in his first live match since tearing his ACL nearly a year ago.
Three numbers that matter
24: The Tar Heels’ finish at nationals during the 2015 season.
5: Members of the North Carolina wrestling team ranked among the preseason top 20 in their respective weight classes.
1: First-place finish for the Tar Heels on Sunday.
The Tar Heels travel to Troy, New York for the Northeast Duals on Nov. 15.