“We have five solid experienced guys and with five solid experienced guys, if they do their job, you can win matches.”
Wrestling is such an individual sport, so dependent on one man’s skill pitted against another’s, one man’s grit against another’s, that any doubt is an instant disadvantage. And once that doubt is erased, the change is visible.
It happened to one of the Tar Heels in the span of a little more than two minutes. Sophomore Nathan Kraisser was in a sophomore slump. He lost to Maryland, a match he said he should’ve won. But when he stepped on the mat against Navy on Saturday, there was no doubt in his mind that he would pin whoever stepped on the mat to face him. And he did, in two minutes and nine seconds.
After the match he admitted that what Mock said was true, his confidence hadn’t been where it needed to be.
“Getting my mind right, I think that was the biggest thing I needed to change,” Kraisser said.
Junior Evan Henderson didn’t lack confidence, and he continued an already dominant season with two weekend wins. Junior Jake Crawford joined Henderson in winning both of his matches, including narrowly missing a major decision that would’ve tied the match against Navy. Everything he said after his weekend of winning revolved around the same word his coach had been preaching — confidence.
“It definitely builds it up a lot,” Crawford said. “I was in a little slump there for a while, it’s good to see the team getting better and getting better as an individual myself.”
Mock pointed out that with so few Division I wrestling programs, every roster is stacked with talented wrestlers.
“There’s not gonna be many easy matches,” Mock said. “Every time you step on the mat you have to prove who you are.”