LENOX — Bedford/Lenox senior Jared Hensley did not want his final memory on the wrestling mat to be the way his senior campaign ended.
Hensley’s season came to an end one match shy of the state tournament at the Class 2A District meet this past February in Harlan when he placed third in a loaded bracket at 120 pounds.
He has decided to give wrestling another opportunity for the next five years.
Hensley recently signed his letter of intent to wrestle at Upper Iowa University in Fayette. He’ll begin wrestling for the Peacocks this fall.
Hensley is a three-time state qualifier and went 164-15 as a prep. He was fifth in the state as a junior at 120 pounds, third as a sophomore at 113 pounds and fourth as a freshman at 113 pounds.
“I didn’t want to give up the dream,” Hensley said. “Leaving high school the way I did, not making it to the state tournament didn’t feel right.”
Hensley knows he can make an impact at a traditionally solid program.
“I can go to the next level and show myself and do something good there,” Hensley said.
Hensley plans on wrestling at 125 pounds in college.
“I’m not quite up to 133,” he said. “125 will fit me really well.”
Hensley will take a strong work ethic to the wrestling room at Upper Iowa.
“He’s the hardest working kid in the practice room, offseason,” said Bedford/Lenox assistant coach Lynn Christensen. “He’s always working out. He’s going to be pushing people to the limits like he did here.”
Hensley’s style of working hard for the entire match, now seven minutes at the college level, will translate well.
“I’m always grinding, wrestling hard,” Hensley said. “They could use my hard work that I’ll give them and benefit me and I’ll benefit off them.”
Hensley chose Upper Iowa over the University of Nebraska-Kearney, Buena Vista University and Morningside College.
“I decided because it felt more like home than any other place I visited,” Hensley said.
Hensley developed a strong bond with Upper Iowa head coach Heath Grimm.
“I felt like I connected with the coach,” Hensley said.
Hensley told Grimm of the decision while Grimm was on a cruise.
“I told him I was pretty excited about it,” Hensley said. “Our relationship felt pretty good with each other, so we can work together.”
Hensley is not decided on a major yet, but indicated he is leaning towards education for secondary social sciences.