Carr advances to NCAA finals, Gremmel earns All-American spot

David Carr wrestles Michigan’s Will Lewan on day one of the NCAA Wrestling Championships on March 18 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sam Stuve

With two wins Friday, Iowa State’s David Carr became the first NCAA Championship finalist the program’s had since 2015, when Kyven Gadson won the 197-pound championship.

Carr (18-0 this season before the semifinals), the No. 3 seed at 157 pounds, wrestled his semifinal match in the 2021 NCAA Championships at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, against a fellow unbeaten wrestler, North Carolina State’s (No. 2 seed) Hayden Hidlay (12-0 before the bout against Carr).

“David just didn’t get rattled all day and [Friday] he had two really good opponents,” Iowa State Head Coach Kevin Dresser said. “I think coach [Derek] St. John and coach [Brent] Metcalf have done a really good job with him from day one on just getting bogged down and stay in his wheelhouse.”

After being warned for stalling in the first minute of the match, Carr’s offense picked up and he scored a takedown just before the first period ended. 

The Canton, Ohio, native increased his lead to 5-1 with an escape early in the second period and a single-leg takedown with less than a minute left in the match. 

Hidlay got a reversal but allowed an escape that gave Carr a 6-3 lead.

Carr got called for stalling in the final seconds of the match, which gave Hidlay a point, but it didn’t matter as Carr won 6-4.

“[NC State] had a game plan and they came out and executed it pretty well at first, but David made an adjustment on the fly and I think the rest is history right now,” Dresser said. 

“I was just so happy, so grateful, like I said, all glory to God,” Carr said in regards to the feeling he had after winning his semifinal match. 

In the finals, Carr wrestled No. 4 Jesse Dellavecchia from Rider, who pinned the No. 1 seed Ryan Deakin from Northwestern. 

“My dad’s been training me for moments like this, I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid,” Carr said.

David’s dad, Nate Carr, was a three-time NCAA champion at Iowa State from 1981-83.

Iowa State had one other opportunity to get a wrestler into the finals as the sixth-seeded Gannon Gremmel faced off against two-seeded Mason Parris out of Michigan.

Parris had control of the match from the get-go, jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the first period. Parris then got an escape and another takedown and used an armbar to turn Gremmel on his back and pin him at the 4:02 mark. 

To get to the semifinals, Carr and Gremmel had to win a match in overtime in the quarterfinals.

Carr led his quarterfinal match 1-0 late in the third period, when his opponent, sixth-seeded Brayton Lee from Minnesota, got a reversal, which put Carr behind 2-1.

At the end of the period, Carr was awarded a bonus point for riding time advantage, which sent the match into sudden victory one.

In sudden victory one, Carr countered one of Lee’s attacks and grabbed his ankles, which led to a takedown to win 4-2. 

For Gremmel, he was tied at one in his quarterfinal match with 14th-seeded Trent Hillger from Wisconsin.

After no one scored in sudden victory one, the match went in to tiebreaker period one where Gremmel got an escape in the first 30 seconds of the period, then rode out Hillger for 30 seconds to win 2-1.

With his win in the quarterfinals, Gremmel earned an All-American spot (a top-eight finish), but his semifinal loss means he’ll finish between third and sixth.

Gremmel wrestles No. 4 Cohlton Schultz of Arizona State (who gave Gremmel his only loss in the regular season, a 3-2 loss in TB-1) in the morning session Saturday. He’ll then wrestle for either third place or fifth place, depending on the result of his first match.

“Gannon Gremmel has come so far since the last time he wrestled in the NCAA Tournament two years ago,” Dresser said. “He’s top six, he’s gonna have to battle his butt off tomorrow to see where he stacks up between three things but I’m proud of his tournament at this point.”

Iowa State is in 13th place in the team score with 32.5 points. Iowa leads all teams with 109 points.

The morning session Saturday begins at 10 a.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN2.

The finals begin at 6 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN.