All-American and 2x Most Dominant Wrestler from Air Force, Wyatt Hendrickson, hopped on the Heavyweight Nation Podcast and recapped his impressive 2022-2023 junior season.
Here’s what he had to say:
Since 2021, Wyatt Hendrickson has lost only nine bouts throughout 82 matches and has notched over an 80% bonus rate in his past two seasons as a Falcon.
Hendrickson has been dominating opponents for the past two seasons, which earned him the Most Dominant Wrestler award for the second consecutive year after finishing third in the country in 2023. En route to a third-place finish, Hendrickson posted a near 85% bonus rate this season with a 31-2 record.
Wrestling out of the Air Force Academy, there are a lot of variables that go into decision-making. Not only has Hendrickson been solely focusing on how to continue to get better at wrestling, but the timing of workouts and consistent training are things that all Air Force wrestlers have to take into consideration during the season.
“We’re all wrestlers but we’re all cadets. So we come to the Academy and we don’t have special meals, we eat with everybody else, no meal plans or prep, so we do what we have to do,” said Hendrickson.
Unlike other top programs in the country, there are no special benefits for wrestlers at the Air Force Academy. Meals are the same as other cadets, their schedules don’t change because they wrestle, and schoolwork isn’t as excusable as for other wrestlers throughout the country.
“It’s just tough,” said Hendrickson. “Sometimes you have to make those decisions whether to do that extra cardio, because if you do that you might not have time for homework. It’s kind of like a trade-off, we never have time for everything, but throughout the years you get to find out how to balance it.”
Hendrickson seems to have it all planned out, and it showed in a big way this past NCAA tournament in Tulsa. Every single one of Hendrickson’s wins at the NCAA tournament came by bonus points with three falls and two wins by major decision.
The only loss Hendrickson suffered at the tournament was to Penn State’s Greg Kerkvliet, however, battled back and pinned both Northwestern’s Lucas Davidson and Iowa’s Tony Cassioppi to finish with a third-place trophy.
“In practice, I always drill to a pin… Other people drill takedowns, I drill to get a pin every single time. When I wrestle I’m always looking to catch someone”, said Hendrickson.
Going into his senior year, Hendrickson will be back in the mix with Kerkvliet, and Cassioppi, and this could be the year that Air Force gets their first national champion since 1967. Despite the high rankings, Hendrickson is just blessed to be a part of something special.
“It’s an absolute honor and blessing to be at the Air Force Academy. I get a world-class education, I’m a part of something bigger than myself, and at the same time I get to wrestle at the highest level in the Big 12 and in the NCAA,” said Hendrickson.