‘Hunting down the No. 1 guy’: Iowa State travels to Missouri


Lee Chinyama

David Carr at the ISU vs. OSU wrestling meet on Jan. 29.

AMES – No. 2 David Carr likes to be on the hunt.

Carr moved up a weight class to be more physically comfortable this season, but what’s different is his mentality. Instead of defending a championship, Carr is the challenger this time around.

Carr won the national championship at 157 pounds in 2021 but failed to defend his title in 2022. He earned third place after his 55-match winning streak was snapped in the NCAA tournament. Now, Carr has moved up a weight class, determined to work his way to the top again.

“I’m the one going on the hunt, and I’m hunting down the number one guy,” Carr said at Iowa State’s preseason media day in October.

Carr didn’t drop any names during that October press conference, but his next opponent was certainly on his mind.

No. 3 Iowa State will travel to No. 10 Missouri Wednesday night, and Carr will have the marquee match. The fan-favorite Cyclone will face No. 1 overall Keegan O’Toole. O’Toole is the defending national champion at 165 pounds and has won 41 consecutive matches.

“You train hard all year to wrestle matches like this,” Carr said this week. “I think it’s good for wrestling. It grows wrestling.”

The matchup will be the first between the two wrestlers and potentially the first of many. O’Toole and Carr could face each other in the Big 12 Championships and NCAA Championships later in March.

Both the top 165-pounder and the Iowa State senior are undefeated this season. O’Toole last lost a match nearly two seasons ago in the 2021 NCAA Championships when he placed third in the 165-pound bracket. Last season, O’Toole was named Big 12 Wrestler of the Year.

“I went up to 165 for a challenge,” Carr said. “Keegan O’Toole presents unique challenges.”

The pair have both impressed against the field at 165 pounds this season. O’Toole is currently on a four-match streak of bonus point wins. Carr most recently won by tech-fall against Illinois and has scored bonus points for Iowa State in 10 out of his 19 matches this season.

“He’s funky,” Carr said about the style of O’Toole. “He wrestles hard in a lot of positions.”

For either athlete, a win Wednesday night means a claim at the top spot in a competitive weight class. The winner will be in the driver’s seat for a bid at a second national championship.

The teams themselves will have a highly anticipated matchup. Missouri and Iowa State have nationally ranked wrestlers at nine weight classes. The probable lineups feature four matches with top-10 ranked wrestlers.

No. 9 Sam Schuyler will face No. 7 Zach Elam at 285 pounds. Schuyler will enter the dual on a seven-match win streak. The Cyclone senior has gained wins over four nationally-ranked wrestlers since January 8.

Iowa State’s No. 7 Yonger Bastida will look to bounce back against No. 4 Rocky Elam. Bastida, the 197-pounder for Iowa State, has lost two of his last three matches.

At 149 pounds, Iowa State freshman No. 10 Paniro Johnson will take on No. 7 Brock Mauller. Johnson has won this season over the No. 2 and No. 6 wrestlers at 149 pounds. He is currently on a five-match win streak.

No. 27 Julien Broderson will face No. 7 Peyton Mocco at 174 pounds. Mocco is one of three wrestlers at the collegiate level that has defeated Broderson’s teammate Carr. Mocco defeated Carr in the 2019 Cyclone Open.

According to the probable lineups and national rankings, Missouri is technically favored at eight weight classes. As a team, Missouri is 7-3 in the 2022-23 season. The Tigers have lost to Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Virginia Tech. Two are common opponents of Iowa State.

The Cyclones defeated both Oklahoma State and Arizona State at Hilton Coliseum this season.

The dual will start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday from Columbia, Miss. It can be streamed at FloWrestling.