‘Be the hunter:’ Carr changed physically and mentally


Owen Aanestad / Iowa State Daily

Iowa State senior David Carr speaks with reporters during his team’s preseason media day.

Iowa State wrestling will begin its 2022-23 season Nov. 5 with the Battle in the River City tournament. Top-ten-ranked Wisconsin will be on the schedule, and notably, Cyclone all-American David Carr will represent his team in a new weight class.

For his senior season, Carr is making the move from the 157-pound weight class up to 165. The three-time all-American feels more comfortable physically at 165. Carr said having to cut less weight means he can push himself harder in the wrestling room and weight room.

Physically he’ll look different, but with a new weight class also comes a new mentality for the Cyclone leader. In his new-found home at 165, Carr gets to be hungry again.

“I feel like this year I have more peace,” Carr said at Iowa State’s preseason media day Tuesday. “I’m the one going on the hunt, and I’m hunting down the number one guy.”

Carr was the national champion in the 157-pound division in 2021. Last season in his junior year, Carr looked to be poised for another title.

“It’s kind of different than being the returning national champ,” Carr said. “You got to return to work and you got to be the hunter. I kind of like that.”

He took first at the Big 12 Championships, but against No. 17 ranked Hunter Willits from Oregon State, Carr’s 55-match winning streak and second national championship bid fell short. Carr wrestled all the way back to place third in the NCAA last season.

“You never realize how tough somebody is until they go through a tough moment,” Carr said. “That was my tough moment. It’s just a blessing I felt what it feels like to lose at a big stage. And I’ve learned from and grown from it.”

In the InterMat preseason rankings, Carr is third in the 165-pound weight class. Keagan O’Toole of Missouri and Shane Griffith of Stanford sit ahead of Carr in the preseason rankings.

O’Toole and Griffith are both previous national champions at 165. O’Toole took the honor of Big 12 wrestler of the year last season as he took first at the NCAAs in his freshman season. Griffith, a redshirt senior, was the champion in 2021.

“When you have that kind of skill, you have the luxury of picking what weight you want,” head coach Kevin Dresser said. “I know it’s a good weight, a deep weight.”

“That’s something you can go and tell your grandkids that you picked the hard weight and you won the hard weight.”

In his sixth year at Iowa State, Dresser welcomes the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation. New faces such as Casey Swiderski, MJ Gaitan and Manny Rojas will battle for a spot alongside Carr in the Iowa State starting lineup.

Swiderski and freshman Paniro Johnson are listed as probable starters for Iowa State. Overall, 21 newcomers joined the Iowa State roster for the 2022-23 season.

“There’s strength in numbers,” Dresser said of his freshman class. “I think that they’re going to make a difference right away for us. They have in terms of pushing the older guys.”

In the dual-meet InterMat preseason rankings, the Cyclones are 13th. Last season, Iowa State finished 17th at the NCAA Championships.