A HERO’S WELCOME
Humboldt rolls out the red carpet for freshly-minted Junior World champ Carr
The redshirt freshman’s life as a Cyclone actually began long ago, though. And the legacy recruit appears ready to meet — or possibly exceed — the lofty expectations that turned his dad into a wrestling superstar in Ames.
Carr was a featured guest at the Cyclone Regional Training Center’s meet-and-greet event on Friday at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds. Despite being relatively new on the collegiate scene, Carr — the son of three-time ISU national champion and former Olympic bronze medalist Nate Carr — already has the name recognition of a Cyclone legend and a recent performance to turn the buzz among fans into a growing roar.
On Wednesday, Carr captured a Junior World Championship at 74 kg in the freestyle division in Tallinn, Estonia. Carr is the program’s first-ever junior world wrestling gold medalist.
“I’m extremely blessed,” Carr said on Friday. “It didn’t really hit me until I got home and spent some time around my roommates and my friends. It was great to be back (in Ames) and fun for me to share (in the post-tournament celebration) with the people I’m closest to now (at ISU).”
The trip to Humboldt — Cyclone head coach Kevin Dresser’s hometown — came with a hero’s welcome. Carr, Dresser and the rest of the Cyclones rode into the community on a Humboldt Fire and Rescue truck to open the evening’s festivities. The Cyclone Regional Training Center dinner, banquet and auction is a fundraiser to support the organization.
“It means the world to me, seeing Cyclone Nation up close and coming to Humboldt like this,” said Carr, a five-time high school state champ who picked Iowa State over Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Cornell. “We’re just doing our part to grow the fanbase right now. We see people who love our sport and our program, and that motivates us (as athletes).
“I talked to a guy the other day who said, ‘I watched your dad wrestle when I was growing up and he was one of my favorites.’ That’s just awesome. It’s a really cool experience for me, being able to kind of relive (the passion) of Cyclone fans I remember from when I was a kid.”
Carr initially had the mindset of walking a different path rather than following in his father’s footsteps. At the end of the day, though, “there was something very emotional and even sentimental” about deciding to compete at Iowa State.
“Just looking at those Cyclone colors … it brought back a lot of memories,” said Carr, whose brother — Nate Carr Jr. — won a junior college national championship at Iowa Central before a Div. I career with the Cyclones. “I was a big Iowa State fan growing up, and when the recruiting process came around, all of those feelings (resurfaced) — especially when I saw how much Coach Dresser was changing the culture and expectations here.
“I fell in love with Iowa State all over again.”
Carr called his visit to Humboldt “fitting in a way” as the first stop carrying the label of freshly-minted junior world title-holder.
“I had a brief conversation with Coach Dresser about (coming here) — I know about the rich tradition of wrestling and this being his old stomping grounds,” Carr said. “He told me about when he won a national title (as a collegiate athlete), the whole town came out to support him.
“I’m just blessed and honored to be in Humboldt around passionate wrestling fans like this.”
Carr expects big things both from himself and Iowa State in the years to come.
“We were just talking about that the other day — how pumped we are to get the season started,” said Carr, who plans on competing at 157 pounds this season. “The future of Iowa State wrestling is bright. We’re going to bring it back to prominence. That’s why I came here … to help get our program back on top.”