Caleb Henson: From Cartersville to making wrestling history in Virginia

A wrestler from Cartersville who is studying in Virginia has just made history. For the first time ever, a wrestler from the Peach State won an NCAA championship in Division I wrestling. Caleb Henson has made his hometown proud, and he plans to keep giving Georgia's wrestling community something to celebrate. 

There are 78 Division I wrestling programs in the country. Not one is in Georgia, but that did not stop Caleb Henson from competing at the college level. In fact, he's only the second wrestler to graduate from a Georgia high school to make it to the NCAA D1 finals. He's the first to win. 

Winning an NCAA wrestling championship in four years was an ambitious goal. 

Caleb Henson did it in two. 

"To give myself the opportunity to be a three-time national champ is awesome, and it's a new goal of mine," he said. 

Last weekend, fourth-ranked Henson took home the 149-pound weight class national title, making history as the first Georgia wrestler to do so. 

"I had a couple buddies I was racing with, and it's funny we all went to high school together," he said. 

Years ago, most Georgia colleges that did offer wrestling cut their programs because of rising costs and Title IX--the law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in school. 

The last time a Georgia wrestler even made it to the finals was in 1983. 

"Sure, a bunch of guys would like to stay, but there's not a single school in Georgia, so we have to go out of state," he said. 

Henson is a Hokie, competing for Virginia Tech, and he says the school is hyper-aware of the effects of cutting weight. 

"We're getting a lot smarter with it especially here. We have a nutritionist breaking down the science, effectively, safely," Henson said.  

However, Henson knows he first developed his skills in Georgia at Cartersville's Woodland High School, coached by Adrian Tramutola. 

With years left in his college career at 21 years old, Henson says this championship is just one personal dream fulfilled but a triumph for Georgia. 

"The fact that they're still watching me is awesome," he said. 

By 2028, Henson hopes to be an Olympic champ. He's studying business, with the goal of keeping wrestling as a part of his life by making a living, operating gyms across the country.  

"I'll enjoy the perks of the win for a few weeks, but then I'll focus on training like normal," Henson said.