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Costanzo: Henke eyeing team, individual titles

Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 by Paul Costanzo

Brian Henke hasn't wrestled a match in his junior season yet but the Richmond standout has done enough to draw the interest of some major wrestling programs.


Henke, who placed fourth in the state as a freshman and second as a sophomore, has received multiple letters from university wrestling programs, including Central Michigan, Michigan State, Columbia, Stanford and Duke.

There's also plenty of buzz around the Blue Devils as a team, as they enter the year ranked No. 3 in Division 3 behind Saginaw Swan Valley and Dundee. The Blue Devils open their season Dec. 2 at Rochester Adams against Dundee, which knocked Richmond out of the state quarterfinals a year ago.

While sports reporter Joseph Hayes is busy working on the main story for this week's Preps Plus, I thought I'd step in and go one-on-one with Henke to talk about the excitement surrounding he and the team.

Paul Costanzo: You're wrestling at 140 pounds again this season. Did you think you'd grow out of the weight class, or did you make an effort to keep your weight down during the summer?

Brian Henke: I tried to keep my weight down at the beginning of the summer, but then I started eating. But when I started training for Super 32s, I was losing it all. Right now I weigh about 148.

PC: Obviously, you've accomplished a lot in your two years, but did wrestling at a national tournament like the Super 32s and doing well give you some added confidence?

BH: Yeah, just the atmosphere there is so big. When we were driving back, we were saying that it's going to feel different wrestling in normal tournaments.

PC: There seems to be a lot of excitement around this year's team. What's that like, and are you guys trying not to pay attention to the rankings?

BH: Everyone is real pumped up and excited for the season.

Of course, it's tough not to look at (the rankings). But we can't get too big-headed because then we end up getting beat.

PC: How important is the opening match with Dundee to you guys?

BH: It's important. We want to go in there and just beat them. We know how they beat us last year, I guess, and that's what makes me want to beat them.

PC: I know schools are looking at you now. Is there one that you are leaning toward?

BH: I really wanted to wrestle at Central. But now it comes down to whoever can give me the most (scholarship) money.

PC: Is there anything you feel you need to do in the next two years to raise your profile?

BH: One thing I'm really worried about right now is taking the ACT in January.

PC: After taking fourth and second, is the next logical step a first-place finish for you at state? Would anything else be a disappointment?

BH: Yeah, if I don't win, it will be a disappointment. But I still have two years, and the goal is to win it once.

PC: How about for the team? Would not winning a state title as a team be a disappointment this year?

BH: It's going to be really disappointing if we don't win it as a team. I'd rather win it as a team than win it as an individual.

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