The stress, the angst, the gnawing doubts — they all disappeared from Nathan Kraisser with one emphatic clap.
A pin, wrestling’s most decisive form of triumph, served as a calming elixir for North Carolina’s Kraisser. He locked Navy’s Brenden Campbell into a precarious position Saturday afternoon, secured the pin and sprung to his feet.
The sophomore clapped once with crack-of-the-whip force. The pin had given UNC life and sparked a swift comeback — his teammates and coaches roared from UNC’s bench. Eventually, though, the rally fell short in the 19-18 loss. .
“I think I got it out of me,” said Kraisser, referring to five losses in his last six bouts entering Saturday . “This is the start of the turnaround of my season. I’m starting to get my style back. I feel like I’m wrestling how I was last year.”
Kraisser emerged as an indomitable force for UNC in 2012-13, nearly as automatic as the reliable Evan Henderson. He went 33-7 and became the first Tar Heel to win ACC freshman of the year honors . Kraisser would turn heads nationally, too, when he narrowly lost to the eventual 125-pound NCAA champion in the quarterfinals of the 2013 championships.