Former Pennsylvania stand-out Evan Henderson (Armagh, PA) competed for the first time under the Badger Regional Training Center – winning the Bill Farrell International Open at 65 kilograms. The title automatically qualifies Henderson, a former Kiski Prep and North Carolina wrestler, for the 2018 World Team Trials. He will compete in the inaugural Final X Series on June 16th in State College. Two years ago Evan went (3-2) at the Bill Farrell Open and last year was fifth at the World Team Trials.
Henderson, a 2-time All-American for the Tar Heels, had his toughest match in the quarterfinals against former Minnesota Gopher Nick Dardanes. Down (4-2) in the second period, Henderson stormed back hitting a head-inside single leg to go up (6-4) where the match would end. Henderson won (20-10) in the semifinals and hit a nasty headlock in the finals grabbing the fall in just (0:26).
The other Pennsylvania finalist inside the New York Athletic Club was, to say the least, surprising. It was the first time the former Ohio State All-American Kenny Courts (Harrisburg, PA) and 2-time PIAA State Champion officially competed in two years. Quite the comeback party for Courts who moved up to 92 kilograms (202 pounds), for the Bill Farrell Open. Competing for Titan Mercury, Courts opened with a (17-6) win over second seed Nikko Reyes, going off for fourteen straight points after trailing (6-3) to end the first. He rolled to a (10-0) win in the quarterfinals before meeting Russia’s Arsen-Ali Musalaliev in the semifinals.
His return looked to be cut short when Musalaliev, a 2016 UWW Junior World Champion, raced out to a (9-0) advantage on Courts as time was running short in the match. That is when Kenny snapped Musalaliev down hard near the edge and hit a cement mixer, rolling through, and planting him on his back for the fall. It was too much to claim it all as Kenny fell in the finals to Kazakhstan’s Chilayev Iliskhan, who scored ten points in the final period to win it (16-6).
You always strive for first but I feel this is just what the doctor perscribed. I had to make alot of changes in my life to get back to this point. 6 months ago I weighed 235lbs there is no looking back now. Thank you for all the support. The journey is far from over. God is good https://t.co/akM1WmgnEc
— Kenny Courts (@Courts1nSession) March 31, 2018
Other medalists from Pennsylvania included Austin Miller (Hempfield/Bucknell) who took fourth at 57 kilograms and Michael Evans (Enola, PA/Iowa) who took fourth at 79 kilograms.
1st Samat Nadyrbek Pittsburgh, PA (Pittsburgh) VSU Tim Lambert Lincoln, NE (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club), 11-0 3:25
3rd Zane Richards Champaign, IL (TMWC) VPO Austin Miller Milton, PA (Buffalo Valley RTC), 9-0
1st Jon Morrison (NYAC/MWC) VPO1 Tyler Graff Pewee Valley, KY (TMWC), 6-5
3rd Seth Gross Rosemount, MN (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) VSU1 Alan Waters Columbia, MO (TMWC), 11-1 4:04
1st Evan Henderson Chapel Hill, NC (TMWC) VFA Ilman Mukhtarov (France), 2-0 0:26
3rd John Simmons (NYAC/MWC) VPO1 Earl Hall Ames, IA (TMWC), 10-6
1st Okasov Sayatpek (Kazkhstan) VPO1 Kyle Ruschell (NYAC/BWC), 6-3
3rd Ashirov Meirzhan (Kazkhstan) VPO1 Ganbayar Sanjaa (Mongolia), 6-5
1st Thomas Gantt Raleigh, NC (TMWC) VSU Dan Vallimont (NYAC/PWC), 11-0 3:47
3rd Franklin Gomez (Pur) VSU Nestor Taffur (Colombia), 10-0 2:41
1st Alex Dieringer Stillwater, OK (TMWC) VFA Zelimkan Khadjiev (France), 14-2 3:32
3rd Michael Evans Lillington, NC (Buies Creek Regional Training Center) VPO1 Joshua Asper Annapolis, MD (Navy-Marine Corps RTC), 8-5
1st Chilayev Iliskhan (Kazkhstan) VSU1 Kenneth Courts Harrisburg, PA (TMWC), 16-6 4:48
3rd Assadov Elkhan (Kazkhstan) VPO1 Nikko Reyes Fresno, CA (Valley RTC), 5-2
1st Ty Walz Blacksburg, VA (TMWC) VPO1 Deron Winn Ames, IA (TMWC), 4-2
3rd Austin Schafer (NYAC/FLWC) VPO1 Blaize Cabell Fresno, CA (Valley RTC), 6-2
1st Inkar Yermukambet (Kazkhstan) VPO1 Oleg Boltin (Kazakstan), 4-2
3rd Ibragimov Mamed (Kazkhstan) VPO1 Zachery Roseberry Annapolis, MD (Navy-Marine Corps RTC), 7-4