As wrestling season rapidly approaches, Cyclone wrestling fans have plenty to be excited for. Iowa State is in a position to have one of the best seasons in school history, with the amount of talent at its disposal and the likes of Austin Gomez, Jarrett Degen and Sam Colbray.
However, there’s one person in particular who’s made his name well known in the wrestling world and has the potential become one of the brightest spots for Iowa State — David Carr.
Carr is coming into the 2019-20 season as a redshirt freshmen and looks to hold down the 157-pound weight class for the Cyclones. While Carr may have been redshirted his initial season at Iowa State, he still holds plenty of accolades, which makes him one of the most decorated members of Iowa State wrestling.
Before making his way to Iowa State, Carr had a phenomenal career at Perry High School in Canton, Ohio, and had many accomplishments. While competing at Perry High School, Carr posted an outstanding 246-7 record which saw him walk away with five high school state championships.
What made Carr’s journey through high school even more special was he competed for his father Nate Carr, whose name should be more than familiar to all wrestling fans — especially Iowa State fans.
Nate Carr wrestled for Iowa State in the early 1980s and in the 150-pound weight class. During his tenure at Iowa State, Nate posted a career record of 117-20-1, which was highlighted with three NCAA championships and two Big Eight Conference Titles.
“I’m just going encourage him in anyway that I can to do his best and I’m sure the coaches [Kevin] Dresser, [Derek] St. John and [Brent] Metcalf are excited," Nate Carr said. "I’m excited to watch him. Him going after his championships and his goals, I already have mine, it’s all about him.”
Outside of Iowa State, Nate won the 1986 World Cup and Pan-American Championship. In 1988, Nate earned a bronze medal in the Olympics. He was inducted into the Iowa State Hall of Fame in 2000 and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Carr family has been no stranger to Iowa State wrestling. Nate Carr had a legendary career at Iowa State and many believe David is primed for a huge season, but there’s another Carr who put on the Iowa State singlet.
Carr’s older brother, Nate Carr Jr., was the 2007 National Junior College 157-pound champion while at Iowa Central Community College before transferring to Iowa State. Nate Jr. competed for the Cyclones from the 2008-09 season to the 2010-11 season.
“Me and Kyven [Gadson] kind of say this thing called ‘legacy kids,’ we’re both legacy kids,” Carr said. “His dad did some pretty great things at Iowa State and he did a great thing by winning nationals. Now I want to be a legacy kid and do great things along with those accomplishments of what my dad did in the past.”
Carr’s first year at Iowa State saw him get redshirted.
Before the redshirt, Carr put up a 23-1 record wrestling unattached and added to his list of accolades. He competed in the 2018 Dave Shoultz Memorial International, where Carr finished in fourth place. He competed in the Grand View Open, the Lindenwood Open, the UNI Open and the Dave Edmonds Open, where he claimed titles in all of them.
Carr still has plenty of seasons ahead for him, but he’s brought the most hype heading into the 2019-20 wrestling season and for good reason too.
“He’s such a positive guy, his parents did just a good job at raising him to be the 'grass is always green' and the 'glass is always half full' in his world, even on bad days,” said coach Kevin Dresser. “He brings that and I think that carries a long ways and it picks guys up. He’s great with our recruits, he’s great with the media, he’s great with our fanbase, he’s great with our alumni and he’s great with our team.”
Carr made headlines when he earned the gold medal in the 2019 Junior Worlds Championships and earned the title of 2019 Junior World Champion in the 74kg class. He is the only Cyclone to accomplish that feat.
The tournament saw Carr match up with the 2018 Junior World Bronze medalist Devid Betanov of Russia. Carr won the match 4-0 to move on to the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals, Carr was matched with Mohammad Nokhodilarimi of Iran. Carr won the matchup 16-7 with some late takedowns sealing his victory and sent him to the semifinals.
In the semifinals, Carr faced off with the 2018 Junior World Champion Khadzhimurad Gadzhiyev of Azerbaijan. Carr quickly took down the defending Junior World Champion, winning 10-0 in 42 seconds and reserving his spot in the 2019 74kg Finals.
The championship match saw Carr take on Jintaro Motoyama of Japan. Carr had taken 4-1 lead over Motoyama before Motoyama tied the score with a takedown and a push-out. One failed Japan challenge later and Carr was crowned 2019 Junior World Champion with a 5-4 win over Motoyama.
“It was awesome," Carr said. "It was just a cool feeling to throw on the USA singlet and wrestling, not only for the country, but wrestle for Iowa State. To be Iowa State’s first Junior World Champion is just an honor and a blessing."
The Junior World Championship has landed Carr with some good company. Fellow USA wrestlers Mark Hall (2016-17) and Makhi Lewis (2018) were crowned Junior World Champions while heading into their respective redshirt freshmen year. Hall and Lewis went on to win national championships in those redshirt freshmen years.
Carr is carrying a large wave of momentum and already has an impressive resume under his name without even wrestling an entire season for the Cyclones.
Coming into the season, Carr was placed at No. 13 in the nation in the 157-pound weight class in the InterMat Wrestling’s preseason rankings. He’s one of two Big 12 representatives in the top 20 for the 157-pounders with Justin Thomas of Oklahoma being at No. 10.
“I think you challenge your athletes and I think he’s got it in his head that he wants to win the nationals and that expectation is high, but we believe in him, we believe he can do that,” said assistant coach Brent Metcalf.
While it’s easy for everyone to look ahead and predict what the future will hold for Carr, he’s insistent on taking it each week at a time.
Carr mentioned he’s only focused on keeping his spot for now and he’ll keep his sights set on the Cyclone Open after the Cardinal and Gold wrestling off.
One of the biggest things for Carr this season is setting his goals, whether they’re big or small, which has been a staple of the Carr family.
“He’s very focused, very goal-oriented,” Nate Carr said. “One of the things I try to do with all of my children is to get them to set their goals and really all of the goals he’s accomplished, he’s written down."