DES MOINES, Iowa —
Standing on the podium at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships took some of the sting out of Saturday’s two losses.
Some of it, but not all of it.
“It was pretty cool, I guess,” said Evan Henderson, a sophomore at North Carolina who is from New Florence.
“Lights flashing all around you. It was awesome. Not exactly where I wanted to be on the podium, but hey, I got it done. Got my first (All-American). Got two more to go.”
Henderson, who wrestled at United and Kiski Prep in high school, advanced to the national tournament as a true freshman last year but didn’t place.
This year, he came in as the fifth seed and ended up placing sixth.
Next year, he wants to take the next logical step.
“Be on top of the podium,” he said. “Be on top of the podium twice. Hopefully I’ll keep that going and see what it takes,” Henderson said.
After winning his first two matches at Wells Fargo Arena, Henderson lost three of his next four, including two on Saturday.
He was pinned by The Citadel’s Undrakhbayar Khishignyam in the consolation semifinals and then lost 9-2 to Cornell’s Michael Nevinger.
Henderson was hampered by a knee injury that he suffered on Friday.
He said he was told that it was a sprain of the medial collateral ligament.
“They said it was stable, but every match it popped out a little bit,” he said. “I couldn’t do much. I was wincing in pain the whole match. I warmed up, but didn’t even take a penetration shot the whole time.”
Penn State captured the team championship for the third consecutive season.
The Nittany Lions led the team race for most of the tournament, but Oklahoma State overtook them with a victory in the first match of the finals. The Cowboys’ Chris Perry beat Penn State’s Matt Brown 2-1 in tiebreaker.
But Penn State’s Ed Ruth put his team back in front with a
12-4 major decision of Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin.
Quentin Wright, who is from the State College area, clinched the team title with an 8-6 victory over Kent State’s Dustin Kilgore.
Not everything went the Lions’ way, however. Cornell’s Kyle Dake beat David Taylor
5-4 in the highlight match at 165 pounds, becoming the first wrestler to win NCAA titles at four different weight classes. Taylor was the defending champion at the weight.
Penn State’s Nico Megaludis also finished as a runner-up, losing 7-4 to Illinois’ Jesse Delgado at 125 pounds.