EVANSTON, Ill. -- Two North Carolina wrestlers advanced to Sunday action with their performance on Saturday at the first day of the 50th annual Ken Craft Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill.
Henderson went 3-1 on the day with his lone setback against No. 4 Mitchell Port of Edinboro. Kraisser suffered a first round loss but was able to reel off four straight wins to earn his chance to wrestle Sunday.
The Tar Heels were able to accumulate 25.5 points on day one to finish 18th after the first day of competition. Illinois holds a half point lead 61.5-61.0 over Virginia Tech for the top spot.
Freshman Nathan Kraisser opened as the No. 7 seed in the 125 pound bracket but dropped his first bout of the day by a narrow 8-5 decision to Patrick Hunter of Binghamton. Kraisser bounced back by winning three straight in the wrestleback bracket.
Kraisser pinned Oregon State's Patrick Rollins in 2:37 before posting an 11-4 decision against Derrick Nelson of Pittsburgh. Kraisser closed out day one with a 12-4 major decision over Thomas Gilman of Iowa and a 6-0 decision against Miguel Comparan of Cal State Bakersfield to advance to Sunday.
Sophomore Evan Henderson opened his Midlands with three straight wins to reach the quarterfinals. Henderson was able to pin Joey Lazor of Northern Iowa in his opening bout before earning a 5-3 decision against Kevin Fanta of Northern Illinois.
A 12-6 decision over Tyler Small of Kent State put Henderson in the quarterfinal round where he faced off against the No. 4 ranked wrestler in the country at 141 in Mitchell Port of Edinboro. Port came out victorious over the fifth-ranked Henderson with a 4-0 decision.
Henderson will open action on Sunday against Wisconsin's Rylan Lubeck in the wrestleback bracket.
Barber opened with a fall in extra time over Preston Keiffer of Indiana as the redshirt freshman wore down Keiffer to earn the pin at 9:41. No. 8 Nick Brascetta would get the better of Barber in the next round with an 11-3 major decision.
Barber responded with a 9-5 decision over Zach Bintliff of Princeton before having his day ended by Mitch Minotti of Lehigh by a 6-1 decision.
Nick Heilmann also opened with a win at 149 pounds as he bested Luke Swalla of Iowa State in a 6-1 decision before dropping a 6-0 decision to No. 12 Eric Grajales of Michigan. Heilmann would have his tournament come to an end in his next bout as North Dakota State's Joe Garner claimed a 6-4 decision over Heilmann.
Freshman Jake Crawford saw his first action as a Tar Heel on Saturday as he went 2-2. Crawford dropped a 7-3 decision to Maryland's Ben Dorsey in the opening round before pinning Mike Schmidlin of Sunnyvale WC in his first wrestleback bout.
Crawford added an 8-4 decision against Brandon Wilbourn of Nebraska before losing a 7-2 decision to Logan Molina of Iowa State.
John Staudenmayer was 1-2 on the day at his first Midlands Championships. Staudenmayer fell to Oregon State's Alex Elder in 5:32 before besting Riley Banach of Northern Iowa with an 8-5 decision. Chris Moon of Virginia Tech would end Staudenmayer's day with a pin in 4:05.
Sophomore Frank Abbondanza was 0-2 at 174 pounds as he suffered a 7-2 decision defeat to Jermaine John of Hofstra and a pin in the final period to Kevin Bailey of Lehigh.
Sophomore Alex Utley suffered an opening round defeat in a narrow 3-2 decision against Jake Waste of Buffalo but bounced back with a pair of wins in the wrestleback bracket.
Utley claimed a 9-6 decision over Iowa State's Boaz Beard who entered the day ranked No. 16 in the country. Utley then faced Vince Pickett of Edinboro where he claimed a 7-3 decision before Oregon State's Ty Vinson ended his day with a 16-0 tech fall.
Freshman Cody Klempay was involved in three pins on Saturday. The first went in Klempay's favor as he pinned Brandon Contreras in 6:47 before being pinned by Kyle Cowan of Penn in 1:53. The wrestleback bracket had Klempay paired with Chris Penny of Virginia Tech who pinned the freshman in 1:26 to end his day.
Action resumes in Evanston, Ill. on Sunday at 12 noon CT as consolation rounds, semifinals and seventh-place matches will be held.