Men's Sports

WRESTLING: With grit & dignity, three Cyclones finish the season as All-Americans

It wasn’t an easy path, but the Cyclones finished the NCAA Wrestling Championships with three guys on the podium.

David Carr, Marcus Coleman, and Yonger Bastida fought their way back up the bracket after tough losses on the first day and ended the tournament with tears and smiles.

All three athletes showed grit. They didn’t give up at a time it could have been easy to but instead, they showed up for all seven minutes until the final whistle of the day blew.

They met All-American expectations and battled to top-eight finishes.

Kevin Dresser preaches “The toughest wrestlers wrestle for third”

After being upset in the first round, the defending national champion found himself wrestling the backside of the bracket in hopes to wrestle for third place.

“It’s such a grind,” Carr said in his post-match interview. “I lost my second match and wrestled my way back. Every match was hard. It just feels good to finally be done with that match.”

Carr went on to win six straight matches to earn his third place title.

Iowa State’s David Carr, right, reacts while walking with assistant coach Brent Metcalf after scoring a decision at 157 pounds for third place during the fifth session of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, Saturday, March 19, 2022, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich.

Carr credits the willpower he had to fight through the adversity to his faith in God and to his loved ones which included close friend, 184-pounder, Aaron Brooks from Penn State.

“It was all God,” Carr said. “I couldn’t do it without the support of my family and my couches. Aaron Brooks from Penn State has been praying for me and giving me words of encouragement to come back.”

Following his win, Carr embraced his father, Nate Carr Sr., matside. Carr Sr. had special words for David to hang on to,

“He keeps telling me that I’m going to be better because of this. It’s all in gods plan. I’m going to come back better next year.”

They showed up for each other through every battle

Assistant coach Brent Metcalf has attributed the change in the program to the wrestlers deciding they were going to show up for each other in a way they hadn’t before.

You can preach the message but you can’t force the buy-in.

“I give credit to them and by that, I mean the whole team because it took all of them to hold each other accountable,” Metcalf said. “They had real discussions behind closed doors. That had nothing to do with us (coaching staff). Where they’re being honest with each other and saying, “Hey, what do you really want?” ya know?”

Friday night was a perfect example of that type of support.

Following Bastida’s final match of the night, Coleman and Carr were waiting for him in the tunnel to celebrate that they had all achieved becoming 2022 All-Americans.

On Saturday during the medal rounds, Carr was positioned in the coach’s corner ready to celebrate with his teammates after he had finished competing for the day. He and Bastida were able to do their signature celebration where Carr picks up the 197-pounder and carries him off the mat.

© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

In a tournament that is focused on individuals, these three athletes showed up for each other in every high and low.

Together they gave it all they had until the very end.

Together they will receive their medals on the podium.

Jacqueline Cordova


Jacqueline graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She has been fortunate enough to have interned for Cyclone Fanatic for 2 and a half years before being promoted to stay on. She currently wears a lot of hats at Cyclone Fanatic: Social Media Director, Iowa State Wrestling beat reporter, and staff photographer. Jacqueline loves reading and watching trash reality TV shows when she's not watching sports. One of her favorite accomplishments is having interned for the Minnesota Vikings and during Super Bowl LII.