NEW YORK, NY -- Three-time All-American and 2017 NCAA finalist Lavion Mayes and two-time All- American Evan Henderson have joined the New York City Regional Training Center (NYC RTC) as resident athletes, the club announced Tuesday. The two experienced middleweight athletes plan to compete on the senior circuit and train out of Columbia University in New York, as well as the club's satellite training facility in Hoboken, New Jersey.
"We are working every day to continue to build something special here at the NYC RTC," Regional Training Center coach and 1996 Olympic Gold medalist Kendall Cross said. "With the support and backing of the Columbia Wrestling family and network of alumni, we have added two senior-level athletes to our roster."
"Lavion and Evan are two individuals passionate about the sport of wrestling and are willing to put in the work to make World and Olympic teams," Cross continued, "and I am committed to putting in the work alongside them as a coach. They will compete every day and raise the bar in the Columbia wrestling room, being examples of hard work and dedicated training for those around them."
A native of Mascoutah, Illinois, Lavion Mayes wrestled for the University of Missouri, earning All- America honors three times during his career. During his senior campaign, Lavion reached the NCAA Championship match in St. Louis, Missouri to add to his 3rd and 7th place finishes. He is only the fifth wrestler in Mizzou history to earn three All-American honors. Lavion finished his career in Missouri's Top-10 in wins, major decisions and winning percentage. Wrestling in the 149-pound weight class, Mayes was also the 2017 MAC Champion during his senior season for Missouri. Lavion spent the 2017- 18 season coaching at Clarion University. He is expected to wrestle at 70kg for the NYC RTC.
"The New York City Regional Training Center provides the opportunities that will allow me to be the best wrestler I can be," Mayes noted. "The international experience and knowledge from Coach Cross and Coach Kalika have already given me the extra confidence to compete with the best of the world. I'm excited to train with World Champion Frank Chamizo, Olympic Champion Helen Maroulis, Nestor Taffur as well as Evan, hoping to raise the ceiling of expectation."
Evan Henderson comes to New York City from the Badger RTC at the University of Wisconsin where he was a resident athlete at 65kg. A native of New Florence, Pennsylvania, Henderson wrestled for the Tar Heels of North Carolina and finished on the podium twice, 6th and 4th, to take home All-American status. Additionally, Evan was a 2x ACC conference champion while in Chapel Hill. In 2015 Evan won the University National Championships in addition to taking 2nd place at the Bill Farrell Memorial Invitational. In 2017, he was the Runner-Up at the Dave Schultz Memorial International Tournament before winning the 65kg crown at the Bill Farrell Memorial Invitational in 2018. In his first two years on the senior circuit, Evan has placed at both the U.S. Open (5th, 6th) and the World Team Trials (4th, 4th).
"I am incredibly excited to join the NYC RTC and Columbia Wrestling family," Henderson said. "It is a tremendous opportunity for me to expand my wrestling and to be exposed to an elite level of
competition. Having Kendall, Valentin, and Chamizo in the room, along with the Columbia coaching staff and student-athletes, is a recipe for success."
"And as much as I feel that this training environment will help me personally, I hope to help elevate the wrestlers around me as well. I cannot thank or show enough gratitude to those who have made this opportunity possible."
Columbia's New York City Regional Training Center is a USA Wrestling-recognized RTC working in the support and cultivation of Columbia University wrestling student-athletes, as well as the ambitions of senior-level Olympic hopefuls.