Carr punches ticket to Spain: Recapping the Cyclone wrestling offseason


Brett Rojo/For The Big 12 Conference

Iowa State’s David Carr and North Dakota State’s Jared Franek at the Big 12 Wrestling Championship on March 6 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Christian Royston

The Cyclone wrestling season may have some downtime during the summer, but a select few wrestlers looked at the offseason as an opportunity to get to work. 

It started at the USMC U.S. Open, which saw four Iowa State wrestlers qualify for the World Team Trials, and ended with David Carr being selected to the U.S. National Team. Tough matches were on display throughout the three freestyle tournaments as top wrestlers from around the nation took to the mat in hopes of making it to the U23 World Championships.

Starting strong

The first stop for the Iowa State athletes was the USMC U.S. Open in Las Vegas. Strong performances were a key factor in qualifying for the World Team Trials.

The first Cyclone to qualify for a spot in the trials tournament did so two months prior. Carr earned himself an automatic qualifying spot based on his third-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

Carr battled through a tough consolation bracket to finish third after an early loss to Oregon State’s Hunter Willits on the first day of competition. His efforts at the NCAA championship earned him All-American honors.

Another All-American that got reps in over the offseason was Marcus Coleman at 86kg. Coleman finished second at the USMC U.S. Open with a 4-1 record. 

Coleman entered the tournament on fire, rattling off a fall in his first match over Kyle Summers. He kept that momentum going as he followed up with back-to-back 10-0 technical falls. Coleman faced a tough opponent in the championship match in Mark Hall, a graduate of Penn State.

In Hall’s time with the Nittany Lions, he dominated the 174-pound weight class, finishing as national champion in 2017 and ranked in the top three in his final three years at Penn State. Hall was too much for Coleman to handle, as he took the match by 10-0 technical fall in 4:19.

Iowa State had another qualifier in the 86kg weight class with Julien Broderson. After a first-round bye, Broderson started strong against John Stout and picked up an 18-6 technical fall.

A couple of rounds earlier, Broderson would meet the same wall as Coleman in Hall. Broderson fell to Hall by a 12-2 technical fall in 3:56 in the quarterfinals. Broderson left the tournament with a 3-2 record and a seventh-place finish.

The final Cyclone to take the mat in Las Vegas was Ian Parker in the 65kg weight class. After finishing his career for the Cyclones, Parker looked to put on a show for the fans on his victory lap.

Parker’s only loss of the competition came in the quarterfinals against Matthew Kolodzik by a 10-0 technical fall in 1:10. Although Kolodzik would go on to place second in the tournament, Parker won the rest of his matches in the consolation bracket to take third place after a 6-3 win over Luke Pletcher.

All four Cyclones moved on to the World Team Trials tournament to compete for a spot on the U.S. National Team.

The battle of the greats

The Cyclones didn’t have to travel far for the World Team Trials, as they made the short trip to Coralville, Iowa. 

The first day of the tournament started with Parker battling through tough matches to move onto the semifinals at 65kg. He started his day with a comeback win over Beau Bartlett.

Trailing 0-5, Parker never quit and scored five unanswered points to take the 5-5 criteria win due to him scoring the final point. Parker would start the second match of the day similarly.

Trailing 0-5 to Joseph Mckenna, who was seeded No. 3 in the tournament, Parker rallied back with four unanswered takedowns to take the match 8-5. His effort would put him into the semifinals against Cornell’s Yianni Diakomihalis. 

Over the years, Diakomihalis has made a name for himself in the wrestling world. Diakomihalis dominated the NCAA field throughout his time at Cornell, ending the 2022 season as a three-time national champion with an active streak of 75 wins. 

Parker was in for an uphill battle with Diakomihalis’ experience on the world stage. Parker fell to Diakomihalis in the match by a 10-0 technical fall in 1:01. 

Parker fought through the consolation bracket to meet McKenna again, this time in the third-place bout. McKenna was more prepared this time around, taking down Parker 11-0 in 4:15.

Parker’s fourth-place finish was the second-highest placing of any Cyclone, as Coleman and Broderson missed the podium. Broderson went 0-2 in the tournament after falling to Caleb Hopkins in the round of 16 by a 6-6 criteria win and dropping his consolation match against Andrew Morgan by technical fall, 14-4.

Coleman’s first loss came in the quarterfinals to UNI’s Drew Foster, who took the match a 12-2 technical decision in 3:59. Coleman battled through the consolation bracket but met another wall in North Carolina State’s Trent Hidlay. The No. 3 seeded wrestler, and eventual third-place finisher, got the better of Coleman, taking the match by technical fall in 4:33.

Carr had great success in the 74kg weight class, starting with a 15-6 victory in the quarterfinals against Nebraska’s Collin Purinton. He would then face off against Penn State graduate Jason Nolf, who entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed.

The three-time NCAA national champion, four-time NCAA finalist and 2020 Pan American Champion didn’t make it easy on Carr, putting together an 8-0 lead early into the match. Two and a half minutes into the match, Nolf caught Carr in a cradle to pin him and send him to the consolation bracket.

Carr came back through the consolation bracket with a vengeance, rallying off back-to-back wins against No. 2 Joshua Shields (9-4) and No. 3 Thomas Gantt (10-0) to finish third place in the tournament. The placing also meant Carr had the opportunity to wrestle at Final X for a spot on the U.S. National Team.

Carr’s true third placing

With Carr’s dominating run through the consolation bracket at the World Team Trials, he earned himself a true third-place match at Final X. The last opponent standing between him and a spot on the national team was Joey Lavallee, a graduate from Missouri.

Carr took the mat in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with fire in his eyes. The end goal was in sight, and he wasn’t going to let anyone stop him.

It was clear from the start that Carr would be on the attack throughout the match as he used his folkstyle speed to score three early points. Just after the break, Lavallee fired back with a takedown and a turn to take a 4-3 lead. 

That lead wouldn’t last long, as Carr fought hard to pull the lead back in his favor with a score of 10-6. Carr sealed the deal in no time, as two more takedowns and a final turn secured him the 16-6 technical fall victory in 4:57.

Carr secured the third spot on the U.S. Senior National Team with the win. He also earned a spot on the U23 World team and has the opportunity to compete in the U23 World Championships in Spain.

The other two wrestlers on the 74kg national team are 2020 Olympic bronze medalist Kyle Dake and Jason Nolf.