This weekend marked the official start of the NCAA season, though for all three Division I programs here in the state of Iowa all was quiet as the trio were idle. The same fact goes for next weekend as well for the Iowa Hawkeyes, as their only announced competition will be a public intra-squad matches held this coming Thursday and Friday.
But while the University wrestlers were inactive and still preparing for the long season, one future Hawkeye wrestler was competing – and that wrestler was Wyatt Henson. The Missouri prep competed this weekend out in Pennsylvania at the Clarion Open against the likes of wrestlers from Cleveland State, Edinboro, and Clarion. Henson finished his day by taking third/fourth at 133 pounds. Did I mention that Henson is only a junior in high school?
Opening the day Henson drew arguably the toughest wrestler in the bracket in Cleveland State’s Justin Patrick, who was listed as the bracket’s top seed. Henson battled close with Patrick throughout most of the match, but surrendered late points to drop his match 6-3.
“It got me used to (wrestling at the college level).” Henson said an interview after about his first match. “It made me realize what I have got to do and I adjusted.”
From there Henson staged his comeback winning back-to-back matches by bonus first by pinning Shippensburg’s Jacob Downing in the first period, followed by a 12-1 major decision over Edniboro’s Michael Cassidy. In the consolation semifinals Henson received a forfeit advancing him to the third place bout, which setup a rematch with the first wrestler he faced this weekend, Patrick of Cleveland State – though Patrick medically forfeited out of the tournament.
“I need to train for a seven minute match so I need to wrestle eight or nine minute matches in practice.” Henson said on what he learned competing in his first college level event. “I learned that the matches are really long, riding comes into a big factor with the four point turns. Wrestling on the edge of the mat. Stuff like that.”
A medal winning performance at a college open by a wrestler that has yet to register an official match as a high school upperclassman in unquestionably a remarkable performance. The only wrestler that defeated Henson was Patrick, a wrestler that is entering his fifth year removed from high school.
Henson commented that the age was a factor in terms of his opponent’s strength, but also showed him on areas he can improve to close that gap such as hand fighting, how to ride and turn opponents, and his edge wrestling. In our Potentially Dangerous interview Henson mentioned that he was hoping to get to compete in a couple opens this fall to up his college preparation, but his next college level event has not been decided.
Hear Henson’s full interview on Potentially Dangerous from last month:
As a Missouri based wrestler I asked Henson if the Lindenwood Open, hosted in nearby St. Louis could be an option and while Henson reiterated that there have definitely been no decisions made on his schedule he did say the tournament could be a possibility. The Lindewood Open takes place on November 23rd.