The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 23, 2014

Henderson takes 4th in NCAA Div. I

JOHNSTOWN — Evan Henderson became an All-American for the second time at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Saturday.

The New Florence native finished fourth at 141 pounds -- two spots higher than last year and the best performance by a Tar Heel in the NCAA tournament in nearly two decades – but he’s not satisfied.

“It’s still not where I want to be,” Henderson said in a telephone interview from Oklahoma City, Okla. “I had some good matches.”

Henderson went 1-1 on Saturday to cap a 4-2 tournament and a 41-10 season. He beat Northern Iowa’s Joey Lazor 11-8 in the consolation semifinals on Saturday morning in a wild match.

“He was throwing the kitchen sink at me,” Henderson said.

The victory put Henderson in the consolation final against top-seeded Mitchell Port of Edinboro. Henderson had beaten Port, a Bellefonte native, a day earlier, but it wasn’t meant to be this time, as Port picked up a 9-1 major decision.

“It was tough wrestling him again,” Henderson said. “There was a little more fire under him.”

Henderson, a junior, finished sixth last season but was seeded ninth this time.

“I went out there and showed them what I had,” he said. “It put me in to a position where I had to go out and wrestle every match like it was my last match.”

Despite gaining All-American honors in back-to-back seasons, Henderson isn’t sure if he’ll be gunning for a third next season. He might take a late redshirt season, something quite common in a sport like wrestling, which doesn’t have a pro league that student-athletes are rushing to to reach.

“If I do redshirt, I can’t treat it like a year off,” said Henderson, who graduated from The Kiski School. “I have to get stronger and my cardio needs to get stronger, too.”

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