The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa State wrestler David Carr beats Missouri’s Keegan O’Toole in NCAA semifinals to end rivalry on top

The Cyclone had split the previous four matches with the Tiger. Carr had lost back-to-back matches against the two-time reigning national champion heading into the semis.
Cody Blissett
Iowa State 165-pound David Carr gestures after defeating Missouri 165-pound Keegan O`toole during the fourth session of the NCAA men’s wrestling championships at T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on Friday, March 22, 2024. Carr won by decision, 8-6.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Iowa State 165-pounder David Carr returned to the NCAA finals in dramatic fashion, winning against two-time reigning national champion Keegan O’Toole from Missouri.

O’Toole and Carr have met four times in their collegiate careers. The series has been a dead heat up to this point, with each wrestler winning two matches. Carr took the first two meetings, beating O’Toole via decision and fall, but O’Toole won the next two matches against Carr, beating him 8-2 in last year’s 165-pound NCAA finals and this year’s Big 12 title match.

With Carr graduating after this year, this was the final collegiate matchup between the two elite 165-pounders.

“It was a great rivalry. I mean, some of the biggest moments are when I’ve wrestled with [O’Toole],” Carr said. “He’d beat me a few times; I’d beat him a few times. That match meant a lot. He’s a good competitor. He trains hard. Last year after NCAA’s, he told me that I had made him better, and after he beat me at Big 12’s, all I could think about was  getting better … he made me a better wrestler too.”

The match went back and forth, trading leads throughout. Late in the third period, Carr was down 6-5. With 23 seconds on the clock, Carr shot one final takedown in hopes of a late victory, which he found.

The crowd roared with cheers of “three” as the takedown was confirmed, even bringing the Hawkeye fans who made the trip to Kansas City to their feet in applause for the Cyclone despite the close team-point race.

Carr’s dad and brother were cheering him on from the sidelines, and as he secured that final takedown, the two were running and jumping up and down the side of the mats with pure joy.

As the final whistle blew, Carr ran over to his coaches and jumped and hugged them before raising his hand and walking off to celebrate with his family.

“I’ll never forget that,” Carr said. “It was an amazing moment to have them right there to experience that.”

Carr’s dad, a three-time national champion at Iowa State, told his son that losing to O’Toole during the Big 12 Championships was good for him because he knew the 165-pounder would make better adjustments off a loss.

Carr’s mom has also been instrumental in his collegiate success. She, along with the rest of his Cyclone teammates, dyed their hair blond for a sense of team unity.

“I know it looks stupid. It looks goofy,” David Carr said of the tradition. “But it’s something we do as team bonding.”

But his mother’s support doesn’t stop there. She also challenges herself to make weight with Carr, a tradition she started with him in high school. He said the first time she did this, she was stressed as the weigh-in day quickly approached, but he kept her calm throughout the process.

“I’m kind of coaching her up while I’m cutting weight,” David Carr said. “Then she made weight the same time I did on the first day of nationals, and it was a special moment. Just another moment to share with her. I love her so much.”

David Carr knows the job is not done, and he has a tough matchup in the finals against Penn State’s Mitchell Mesenbrink, but he’s going to soak in and enjoy every second he has left in his collegiate career.

“I’ve never wrestled with him before, but I watched him wrestle most of the year, and he wrestles hard,” David Carr said on the finals matchup. “I’m not really worried about whether it’s a win or loss or whatever. I just want to go out there and wrestle hard, score points, and have fun.”

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About the Contributors
Isaac Elzinga
Isaac Elzinga, Sports Reporter
Isaac Elzinga is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass communication. This is his first year working at The Daily Iowan; he also works as a producer for 1600 ESPN a sports radio station in Cedar Rapids.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.