Scheels Athlete of the Week: Solon’s Carr Caps Career with Memorable State Tournament
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – The first state title in the history of the Solon wrestling program was secured in front of a sold-out crowd under the bright lights and big stage of the state finals on Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines
Ben Carr did his part to help the Spartans claim the Class 2A state title hours early in the consolation round.
Carr picked up a pair of wins over ranked wrestlers in Saturday mornings’ consolation round, capping his career with a second-period pin of third-ranked Tanner Abbas of Clarion-Goldfield in the third-place match.
The third-place finish by Carr was one of three top-three individual finishes for the Spartans and helped Solon edge New Hampton by half a point for the 2A team title.
“You go through the lineup and think of points that we got, we left some points out there which everybody does in a tournament like this but Ben Carr getting that fall in the third-place match was huge,” Solon coach Blake Williams said. “Absolutely huge.”
Everyone from Solon had a role in the team title.
All eight qualifiers won a match and scored team points and five Spartans earned medals.
The third-place finish from Carr was one of the brightest spots of memorable week for Solon.
“It means a lot, Solon hasn’t won it ever so it’s something that will be remember here for a long time,” Carr said. “It was amazing to be a part of it.”
Carr (42-9) entered the state tournament ranked ninth at 138 pounds and was impressive from the outset.
He went 4-1 at the state meet with three wins over ranked wrestlers on his way to his second straight state medal and career-best third-place finish.
The only loss for Carr came in the semifinals to 138-pound champ Keaton Geerts of New Hampton.
“Before the tournament, I felt good, I was just really relaxed,” Carr said. “I think from last year, this was my second time there, I had a little experience and I just felt good.”
Carr opened the tournament with a 23-6 tech fall of Dawson Riemenschneider of East Marshall.
He then pulled of his first upset of the tournament with an 11-7 win over fourth-ranked Austin Rozeboom (36-3) of Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in the quarterfinals.
“If he was going to lose that match his wrestle back was going to come against somebody that was ranked pretty high,” Williams said. “We were a little worried and he said, ‘don’t worry coach, I’m not losing’.”
Carr trailed after the first period but used a five-point move to take a second-period lead against Rozeboom that he would never give up.
“I just cradled him up and put him to his back,” Carr said. “Time was running out so coaches just told me to stay there.”
Carr rebounded from a loss to Geerts in the semifinals with a 5-2 win over No. 10 Nate Thoms of Camanche in the consolation semifinals.
He then put an exclamation point on his prep career with a pin of Abbas in 2:25 in the third-place match.
“To get third place in that bracket when he came in I think ranked ninth was impressive, he just wrestled with such confidence,” Williams said. “That pin in the third place match was absolutely amazing.”
The state title came with a little extra meaning for Carr.
Both of his parents graduated from New Hampton and Carr grew up wrestling with members of the team including his cousin.
Following a loss to the Chickasaws in the finals of the Class 2A dual meet the traditional state title gave Carr some family bragging rights.
“It was really weird because I grew up wrestling in my grandparents with those guys and I’ve know them my whole life,” Carr said. “I’m going on vacation with them next week so it’s kind of weird it plays out like that but it’s all fun in the end.”