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Iowa State’s David Carr wins battle of former national champs in quarterfinals: NCAA wrestling notebook
Former Alburnett prep Tanner Sloan pulls upset for All-America honor
TULSA, Okla. — Iowa State’s David Carr understood the formidable task that awaited him.
The top-seeded 165-pounder welcomed the talented weight class that included three national champions, a returning national runner-up and at least three more All-Americans who could not crack the top-10 seeds.
“This weight is a deep weight,” Carr said. “Every single guy is tough.”
Carr defeated Stanford’s Shane Griffith, 2-1, in a battle of former national champions in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Friday at BOK Center. He claimed his third All-America honor and returned to the semifinals after a year hiatus.
“When you get an NCAA champ in the quarters, that’s a tough weight,” Iowa State Coach Kevin Dresser said. “I thought it was good.”
To be the best, you have to beat the best. He has proved to be one of them and is maneuvering his way through a stacked bracket.
“Truly, it’s a tough weight and I like that challenge,” said Carr, who won the 157-pound national title in 2021. “I moved up for a challenge to get better at wrestling and become a better person. Keep growing my character and my resilience as a person and man of God.”
Carr and Griffith, the 165 champion in 2021, engaged in a low-scoring affair. The duo exchanged escapes, but Carr’s ability to secure riding time before Griffith’s escape was the difference.
“I was trying to get to my offense a lot,” Carr said. “I took a lot of shots and tried to present myself. When guys shoot on me, I feel like I have good re-attacks, too. I got a stall call. He got hit for stalling but I tried opening it up. Sometimes you have to win those close ones.”
Carr fended off Griffith’s late attempt at a takedown, which was upheld by a video review. The win was a sign of his versatility and how he can beat the top wrestlers in different ways.
“He did a great job,” Dresser said. “He could have finished that last 10 seconds a little better. I thought he was solid.
“David Carr is good in all positions. He can ride you and get riding time. He’s going to get away and he’s going to take most guys down.”
The feeling is much better than a year ago when Carr’s attempt at a second straight title was derailed by a second-round upset. He battled back to get third. Carr has grown over the last year.
“I feel like I learned quite a bit last year,” Carr said. “I made some adjustments technically, mentally and throughout the whole year. Just continued to make adjustments.”
Carr opened with two major decisions Thursday and Griffith is the first of three straight NCAA finalists he could face to close the tournament. Missouri’s second-seeded Keegan O’Toole, who Carr has beat twice including in the Big 12 Championships, is a potential finals opponent. Carr advanced to Friday night’s semifinal against Princeton’s Quincy Monday, who was a runner-up last season.
The semifinal served as a generational match. Carr is the son of Cyclone three-time NCAA champion Nate Carr. Monday is the son of Oklahoma State NCAA champion and three-time finalist Kenny Monday. One of the elder Monday’s finals appearances was a loss (3-3 regulation, 5-2 in overtime) to Nate Carr for the 150 title in 1983. Forty years later, their sons battled for a return trip to the finals in a loaded field.
“Absolutely,” Carr said about the special matchup between the standout wrestling families. “It’s a cool moment.”
Iowa State moved into ninth place after the third sessions. The Cyclones advanced Carr to the awards stand for the third time in his career with Zach Redding (133), Casey Swiderski (141), Marcus Coleman at 184 and heavyweight Sam Schuyler in the blood round.
Tanner Sloan is an All-American
South Dakota State 197-pounder Tanner Sloan crashed the higher-seeded semifinal party Friday to earn his first All-America honor. The former Alburnett two-time state champion defeated Cal Poly’s No. 2 seed Bernie Truax, 6-4, in sudden victory.
“It’s a long time coming,” Sloan said. “I had heartache in 2021. I’m feeling healthy this year. No excuses not to get it done.”
Sloan was the only wrestler to defeat a top-two seed before the semifinals. He did it in dramatic fashion. Sloan surrendered the opening takedown but battled back to tie it. They entered sudden victory knotted at 4-4. Despite being 0-3 in overtime, he felt confident.
After finishing a single leg shot, Sloan raised to his feet and celebrated.
“I knew it was my time,” Sloan said. “I put in all the hard work, faith (and) everything.
“I could feel him fading a little bit. I knew my condition is really good. I’ve wrestled a lot of seven-minute matches this year. My nutrition, my diet, my training and everything was working out in my favor.”
Air Force boasts All-American
Air Force heavyweight Wyatt Hendrickson defeated Missouri’s Zach Elam, 17-8, in the semifinals. The victory vaulted Hendrickson into the top six to become Air Force’s first All-American since Kevin Hoy placed second at heavyweight in 2003. Hoy lost to Iowa’s Steve Mocco, 8-3, in the final that year.