Men's Sports

David Carr’s both excited and philosophical about his final dual meet road trip as a Cyclone

Iowa State Cyclones David Carr goes for a takedown Iowa Hawkeyes Michael Caliendo during their 165-pound wrestling at Hilton Coliseum on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Ames, Iowa. © Nirmalendu Majumdar / USA TODAY NETWORK 

AMES — Iowa State standout wrestler David Carr’s facing the last true road trip of his decorated career. The No. 4 Cyclones will swing through Oklahoma to wrestle the No. 18 Sooners at 7 p.m. Friday before tangling with No. 5 Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater. 

 Carr — a 165-pounder who’s finished first, second, or third in his three appearances at the NCAA Championships — is both excited and philosophical about this final journey. He no longer shares the pain of cutting weight with fellow senior Yonger Bastida, who has bumped up from 197 to heavyweight. He’s the “old guy” in a talented, but young room and he’s loving every minute of it.

 “This team is so much different from last year’s team,” Carr said. “A lot of new faces. I just think that this team is young and very unique. Everyone’s style is so much different. (174-pounder) MJ (Gaitan) might pick you up and throw up, and (133-pounder Evan) Frost might hand fight you to death. It’s just different styles and it’s a lot of fun to watch.”

 ISU (9-1) will be a decided favorite against Oklahoma, but the Cowboys will provide stern competition at every weight class. Just like the Cyclones, who seek their first three-match win streak against Hall of Fame head coach John L. Smith’s squad since 1980-82.

 “We’re really close in age and we’ve been friends for a lot of years,” ISU head coach Kevin Dresser said of Smith. “But when the whistle blows and you’re out there, John will take your head off in two seconds, right? And not feel one bit bad about it. He’ll kick it around the room, step on it, and then he might be your buddy afterwards. That’s just how he rolls and we know what we’re getting into.”

 That would be a slew of top-ten matchups against Oklahoma State — up to five, to be precise.

 Frost, who’s ranked No. 7 at 133 by Intermat, could face No. 3 Daton Fix. At 141, ISU’s eighth-ranked Anthony Echemendia is expected to face No. 8 Tagen Jamison, and at 165, the third-ranked Carr will likely scrap with No. 4 Izzak Olejnik. Sprinkle in two more top-10 matchups at 184 (the Cyclones’ tenth-ranked Will Feldkamp vs. No. 2 Dustin Plott) and heavyweight (No. 3 Bastida against No. 9 Konner Doucet), and it’s clear that Saturday’s dual could serve as a bellwether for ISU as it seeks its first outright Big 12 crown since 2008.

 “I think that we’re putting ourselves in the best situation to do that,” Carr said. “I think the training’s been great. We have some of the best coaches in the country. They’re helping us get prepared and I’m excited. It’s my last time kind of traveling with the team. Obviously, we’ll travel for Big 12s and stuff, but as far as duals, I’m just trying to soak it all in and enjoy it.”

 He’s not the only one. Bastida — who is 15-0 this season — doesn’t feel bad about ditching Carr as a “cutting weight buddy.”

 “I’m enjoying it,” he said. “I’m gonna eat my sandwich. I’m gonna eat my rice and beans, haha.”

 Carr’s happy for his longtime friend and teammate as both seek to end their college careers by wearing gold medals in March.

 “I just tell him, ‘Hey, just eat a few slices of cake for me,’” Carr said. “Have an extra sandwich and think of me. At this point in the season, go enjoy. He’s kicking everyone’s butt, so I’m like, ‘Enjoy your food.’ I’ll be here just running my life away on the treadmill.”