ISU 157-pound wrestler David Carr has his hand raised Sunday after a 6-1 victory over Iowa’s Kaleb Young, who was ranked No. 2 at his weight coming into the match. Second-ranked Iowa won the dual meet over the No. 11 Cyclones, 29-6, before the ninth-largest crowd to attend a meet at Hilton Coliseum. (Photo by Jacqueline Cordova)
AMES — “Interesting.”
In a word, that’s how former Iowa State star wrestler, Nate Carr Sr., summed up what he expected in his son, David’s, Cy-Hawk debut Sunday afternoon before the largest crowd at a Cyclones dual meet since the 1999 Iowa-ISU matchup.
“I’m excited,” Carr Sr. said before his son’s breakthrough 6-1 triumph over No. 2 Kaleb Young at 157 pounds — and the No. 11 Cyclones’ otherwise disappointing 29-6 team loss to the second-ranked Hawkeyes. “Of course, a very worthy opponent, so all of that’s going to be interesting. So I’m looking forward to it. He’s going to be ready. The main thing is to be ready to fight. You don’t win every fight, but you must fight every fight and I think that’s the key.”
David Carr — a Junior World Champion in freestyle — did just that. Scrambles abounded as he and Young battled to a 1-1 stalemate early in the third period. Then the match truly got “interesting.” Young was called for stalling right before Carr shot and stuck a takedown with 25 seconds left. That maneuver ended with Young on his back briefly and Carr adding two near fall points to triumph, 6-1. The five-point margin of victory matched the largest against Young — who finished fifth at last March’s NCAA Championships — since the 2017-18 season.
“I think the most impressive thing about David was the presence at the end,” ISU head coach Kevin Dresser said. “Here he is — and let’s face it, he’s got a little different pressure on him because of everything he’s done (in freestyle). He was just hungry at the end to get that last takedown and he locked that cradle up — and that’s a dicey situation. You get the points, but all of us old wrestling experts, when you get in there and start driving that thing too fast, it can go south really fast. It can go from, ‘Maybe I’m getting a pin,’ to a, ‘I’m getting reversed for five.’ I’ve seen many guys get in that hold and then go the other way. So to have the presence to keep that thing under control and not force it and kind of baby it along, was really good.”
The largely cardinal and gold-clad crowd rose to its feet to roar its approval. Carr’s arm shot up just like his dad’s had so many times at Hilton and in national and international competition. And to think the younger Carr, a redshirt freshman, is just getting started.
“That was nuts,” Carr said of the rousing ovation. “That was crazy. A phenomenal feeling and it makes me want to go back and work hard. It makes me want to crush every workout and believe in my coaches even more.”
Carr’s final flourish to vanquish Young served as a stark contrast to the rest of the meet.
In a top-five matchup at 149, ISU’s Jarrett Degen appeared to have Iowa’s Pat Lugo pinned multiple teams during the second period of their match, but officials ruled Degen had locked his hands, so no near fall points were awarded.
Then, at the end of the match, Degen appeared to complete a takedown on the edge of the mat, but officials ruled it came too late as time expired, so Lugo won, 4-3.
The Cyclones’ No. 5-ranked 184-pounder Sam Colbray lost a tight match as well — in a tiebreaker, 4-3, against Nelson Brands, so the dual meet could have been closer than the score indicated.
All of which matters little if at all, as Dresser noted in his opening post-match statement.
“We got manhandled by a very good wrestling team,” Dresser said. “I don’t think there’s any way to spin it any other way than that. The fortunate thing about wrestling a great team is you really, really get exposed and you really know what you’ve got to go to work on.”
That’s plenty, of course, for ISU (1-1), which battled hard up and down the lineup, but clearly has work to do to challenge the elite teams in the sport.
Carr and Ian Parker — who forged a gutsy win in sudden victory at 141 — were the Cyclones’ lone match winners Sunday and Iowa scored bonus points in four of its eight triumphs.
“I thought that our fight was pretty good in some places,” Dresser said. “We lost a match or two that could have went either way. One was in overtime and one was a kind of a goofy call situation, so on paper it could have been a much closer score, but I think there were some competitive matches. If you measure where we were two years ago versus today, it’s quite a different situation, but I’m glad it’s Nov. 23 and we’ve got a while to keep getting better. We just challenged the guys. I said, ‘I’m not going to scream and yell at anybody. We just got beat by a better team today.’”
Humbling team setbacks can spur positive growth. ISU begins regrouping tomorrow in advance of a trip to the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 6-7. The Cyclones will learn a lot more about themselves while facing that field — and trying to take a strong step forward toward an all-important, but distant March.
Carr proved he had the “it” factor in folkstyle as well as freestyle Sunday before the ninth-largest crowd ever to attend a wrestling meet in Hilton Coliseum.
His teammates have plenty of time to make the proper connections and growth to prove something similar over the next three to four months.
“I mean, it’s November,” Carr said. “I think it’s good to learn from a top team — I mean, they’re really tough. So we learned a lot about each other and we learned a lot that we can just keep learning from. I think the most important month is March, so we’re going to keep progressing as a team and keep getting better. That’s exciting.”
“I’ve turned the page,” Dresser said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how we regroup. It’s easy to bring a team in and train a team after a big win. It’s not as easy to bring a team in and train after a loss, but you learn a lot about them. … I think we’ve got a lot of character and I think we’ve got a lot of guys that wrestling’s really important to right now.”