DES MOINES, Iowa —
Evan Henderson is hoping that the third time is the charm.
The New Florence wrestler, who is a sophomore 141-pounder at the University of North Carolina, will get a third chance to face Edinboro’s Mitchell Port again. Henderson went 2-0 on Thursday on the opening day of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena.
Henderson picked up bonus points in each of his two victories. He scored three takedowns and a reversal in his 10-2 victory over Chris Mecate of Old Dominion. He added an escape and a riding-time point in the major decision victory over the No. 12 seed.
The former United and Kiski Prep wrestler was asked how he wrestled against Mecate.
“OK,” he said. “I was a little too defensive. I just need to get after it a little bit more, but the score doesn’t lie – 10-2.”
The fifth seed, Henderson will now face fourth-seeded Port in the quarterfinal round, which begins at 11 a.m. Port beat him twice in the Midlands tournament in December, but their history dates back much further than that as Henderson faced the Bellefonte product in the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling tournament years ago.
“I’m not thinking much about it now,” Henderson said of today’s match. “It gets there when it gets there. He’s good. I’m good. We’ll see.”
Henderson pinned Northwestern’s Pasquale Greco in the opening round. The match was scoreless in the first, but Henderson escaped and scored a takedown in the second. Greco reversed him, but Henderson escaped to make it 4-2.
“(I) just kept my wits about me,” Henderson said. “I made a little mistake and gave up two, but kept going.”
Greco chose bottom in the third and it turned out to be a poor decision. Henderson locked up a cradle and pinned him in 5:49. The strange part about it is that Henderson said that Greco broke the hold before the fall.
“I didn’t have it locked,” he said. “I threw it through and my hands broke. I was just squeezing my fists together and (the official) slapped the pin. I was like, ‘OK, got it, thanks. See ya.’ ”
Henderson was asked if he had ever gotten a pin from a cradle in which his hands weren’t locked.
“(In) middle school,” he said sheepishly.
Penn State, which leads the team race after the first day, had six wrestlers advance to the quarterfinals. They are: Nico Megaludis (125 pounds), Dylan Alton (157), David Taylor (165), Matt Brown (174), Ed Ruth (184) and Quentin Wright (197).
Pitt’s Max Thomusseit (184), Matt Wilps (197) and Zac Thomusseit (285) in the hunt for individual championships.
Edinboro 133-pounder A.J. Schopp, who is from Tyrone, advanced the quarterfinals with a major decision and a technical fall.