Wrestling's Carr Seeks National Honors

Joe Carr has been there. He's beaten the top guys in his weight class and he's been to the NCAA tournament. In the midst of his senior year at WVU he is on the verge of cresting the hill and overcoming the one obstacle that has been in front of him his entire career: All-American.

As long as he can remember, Joe Carr has been around wrestling. He remembers wrestling around the house with his father and traveling every summer to wrestle in tournaments. With the end of his wrestling career at WVU looming, perhaps that is why the soft-spoken senior has a sense of urgency about that obstacle.

"The biggest obstacle for me is trying to be an All-American and a national champion," Carr admits. "Since I got here, I have been trying to achieve that. I just need to continue with the things that I do earlier in the season, later in the season. I am working on just staying more focused all the way to nationals and not worrying so about just getting to nationals."

"Joe has always done things the right way as far as his work ethic and he likes to push himself," head coach Craig Turnbull says. "He is a hard-worker and is determined to achieve his goals."

Carr already has the necessary physical tools and tremendous wrestling talent to achieve those goals. His wrestling philosophy centers around being terrific on his feet with an array of stealthy attacking moves and set-ups and being able to defend being taken down. Now, though, he is looking for the extra advantage to help him achieve his goal.

"I'm seeing a sports psychologist so I can work on the things that I might be missing," Carr says. "I'm looking for that extra edge. It helps to have another voice to give me advice and helps to perform at the level I am capable of at nationals."

A quiet and reserved guy away from the mat, Carr is barely audible when he speaks. Despite this, he has no trouble summoning excitement and intensity when it comes time for the match.

"It's not hard to get up for a match because if you don't get up, then it is like you don't care about what you are doing, and I care," Carr says. "I don't want to lose, so that's motivation for me to get ready and get pumped up and do what I have to do to prepare for my match."

While Carr is generally tight-lipped, he is not afraid to pull a teammate aside and give advice. As one of the team's two seniors this season, Carr's leadership ability may well determine the success of the team.

"Although wrestling is a team sport, each individual win makes up part of the team win. I may not gather the team together and give a speech, but I might take an individual to the side and talk to him," Carr says. "If I see a guy who needs some advice or is not working hard enough, I will try to talk to him one-on-one.

"I think if it (giving advice to the younger athletes) is not being done, then there is something wrong," Carr says. "I think all freshman come in and need some kind of mentoring."

Carr is an example for the WVU coaches to point to not only because of his success on the mat, but because of his attitude and maturity toward the classroom as well.

"School work means a lot more to me now than it did when I first came here," Carr says. "When I first got here I was much more focused on wrestling. But as time went on, things became more real. I realized I need to have a future. My girlfriend, Nicole, has helped me become a much more diligent student."

Carr has similarly progressed each season and has been building to a crescendo that is his senior season and to his ultimate goals. His belief in himself has grown exponentially, and these goals of All-American and national champion are as close now as they have ever been.

"I can be a national champion. It's right there. There is nothing that can hold me back and there is nothing that can prevent me from attaining that," Carr says. "There is no one out there that I can't beat. I always kind of knew that, but right now, things are so much more real now."

Carr and his Mountaineer teammates take on Pitt on February 15th at the WVU Coliseum at 7:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy WVU Sports Communications

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