Ex-Dodger Taylor makes GVU history
OSKALOOSA — Usually, an athlete’s first season of college is a feeling-out process that typically ends in a redshirt year.
Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Carson Taylor has taken a different path, blazing a trail in his first season competing for top-ranked Grand View University in Des Moines.
On Saturday, the former Dodger state champion and two-time finalist etched his name into the Vikings’ record book, becoming the first true freshman in school history to win a Heart of America Athletic Conference/regional title at 133 pounds.
“Winning the conference as a freshman is an awesome feeling, especially to be the first to do it (at Grand View),” Taylor said. “I’ve made jumps this year, just by being able to compete a ton. Having those experiences definitely shows me what I need to work on during practice.”
With the victory, Taylor has earned a spot in the national tournament March 5-6 in Wichita, Kan.
“I’m still learning and ready to show what I can do at the national tournament,” Taylor said.
Grand View staked claimed to their sixth straight league crown with 216.5 points. Missouri Valley (146.5) was the runner-up.
Taylor, who had 121 career wins as a Dodger, recorded three falls on the way to the championship.
In the quarterfinals, the third-ranked Viking pinned Brett Parson of Central Methodist in 1:17. Taylor then put Dickinson State’s Clay Gerhardt’s shoulders to the mat in 4:43.
The former Dodger pinned 11th-ranked Dominick Arellano of Baker (Kansas) in 2:57 for gold.
All 12 Grand View wrestlers reached the finals, with eight earning conference gold — including Clarion-Goldfield-Dows graduate Justin Portillo, who is ranked first at 125 pounds.
Tanner Abbas (157), also a CG/D graduate, lost to top-ranked teammate Giovanni Bonilla in the finals. Abbas is rated second nationally.