2023-24 Iowa State Wrestling

David Carr's Illustrious Iowa State Wrestling Career Coming To Close

David Carr's Illustrious Iowa State Wrestling Career Coming To Close

David Carr has been a centerpiece to Iowa State's wrestling resurgence. His career is winding down with big showdowns ahead.

Feb 23, 2024 by Rob Gray
David Carr's Illustrious Iowa State Wrestling Career Coming To Close

David Carr doesn’t need the hype, but when the spotlight finds Iowa State’s standout 165-pound senior, he basks in it — even when it’s so bright that he might need to squint.

That’s where the four-time All-American and 2021 NCAA champion finds himself this Sunday at 2 p.m. when he’ll tangle with two-time NCAA champ Keegan O’Toole of Missouri in his final dual meet at Hilton Coliseum.

“I feel very locked in, very relaxed, and ready to wrestle,” said Carr, who will likely face his longtime rival at least once — and maybe twice — more as he chases his fifth Big 12 title and second national crown.

O’Toole’s ranked #1 at 165. Carr checks in at #2. They faced off three times last season as well, with Carr winning in the dual meet and Big 12 Championship and O’Toole triumphing in the NCAA title bout.

“We see a guy right now that’s really, like, confident,” Cyclones head coach Kevin Dresser said of Carr. “And that’s really important to be this time of year. He’s really confident. Doesn’t that mean it’s guaranteed he’s gonna go out and get his hand raised? Absolutely not, but if you don’t have that kind of confidence, you’ve got no chance against a guy like Keegan O’Toole. So (Carr) really feels good right now. His mojo is as good as I’ve ever seen it.”

That’s partly because of the opportunities Carr seeks to fulfill in March. But it also stems from the growth of ISU’s team, which has improved dramatically since Carr joined the program in 2018.

“Up and down the lineup it’s really awesome and special to see those guys win,” Carr said. “I feel like early on, there wasn’t a lot of winning. Maybe I was winning a little bit, but now it’s like a lot of winning, if that makes sense. So maybe in the beginning I couldn’t celebrate that much with the team, but now, (149-pounder) Casey (Swiderski’s) doing well, (157-pounder Cody) Chittum’s doing well — I could go up and down, (133-pounder Evan) Frost, (heavyweight) Yonger (Bastida), all these guys are doing well. So I get to go celebrate my win, and I get to go celebrate a bunch more with my teammates because they’re winning (and) they’re progressing.”

Carr enters Sunday’s match with O’Toole with a sterling 65-0 dual meet mark. Dresser said he’s hoping that Tigers head coach Brian Smith will agree to make the match the dual meet finale. If he does, the spotlight’s glare glows even brighter. And the hype? That’s a naturally occurring byproduct of such a highly-anticipated main event. 

“I do believe that if David Carr goes and opens up, I don’t think anybody can stay with him — and that’s not dissing Keegan O’Toole,” Dresser said. “(It’s) because David’s just got so many tools. He’s so athletic. He’s so explosive. But, you know, we’ll wrestle and see what happens.”

Another Marquee Bout

Carr’s even more excited to see Bastida — the third-ranked heavyweight — take on Missouri’s fifth-ranked Zach Elam. Both wrestlers are undefeated this season.

“Yonger is a stud,” Carr said of Bastida, who bumped up to heavyweight this season. “Someone has to come show me that they can challenge Yonger. (He) looks a little bored out there.”

He’s not. Bastida’s simply continuing to thrive as a 240-245 pounder no longer worried about cutting weight. 

“My mentality is to go out there and get a major decision (or) a tech. fall,” Bastida said. “My opponent, they have to try to survive.”

Carr approves of Bastida’s bold message.

“I 100 percent agree,” Carr said. “That’s the best quote I’ve heard. The way he trains and his focus this year, he’s just on another level. I think this will be a good match for him, but I just think he’s too good on his feet. He’s good on the bottom. He’s good on top. He’s a well-rounded wrestler this year and I think you’ll continue to see that.”

Feldkamp Set To Return

Iowa State’s lineup will get stronger on Sunday if 2023 All-American Will Feldkamp returns to the lineup at 184. The sixth-ranked graduate transfer hasn’t wrestled in a month because of a shoulder injury.

“The plan is for him to go this weekend,” Dresser said. “So he’s got to train hard this week and we’re excited about him. He’s excited. One thing he was really looking forward to when he came here for his last year was to get to compete in Hilton. So we need him and he’s excited to compete in Hilton this weekend."