Armless/legless OH Wrestler Going To State!
This is a column from Paul Daugherty, leading sports columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, who usuually focuses on professional sports... (and was a wrestler himself in Maryland)
BTW, Dustin Carter will be competing at the Ohio HS state tournament! Since this column was written, he lost his first match this morning to the 103-pounder from St Paris Graham (the only wrestler to defeat him all season) but won his other matches to make it into the tournament. Way to go, Dustin!
To see the photo album honoring Dustin, visit http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group...ctsPhotoAnnex/
It's a dream within reach
By turning disabilities to advantages, all is possible
BY PAUL DAUGHERTY | PDAUGHERTY@ENQUIRER.COM
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At 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the unluckiest kid in the Goshen High gym was Allen Bulach, a 103-pound senior from Eaton High School who was wrestling Hillsboro's Dustin Carter in the Division II sectional tournament.
How do you wrestle pure inspiration? What hold do you apply to a great story? A single-leg takedown is no match for the human spirit, invincible.
For the record, Carter has been taken down exactly twice in 38 matches this season. For comparison, Carter took down Bulach five times just in their match Saturday.
Bulach was in his first season of wrestling and had a record of 10-15. Carter was 36-1 and closing in on a spot in the state tournament. Bulach's coach, Mark Silvers, had advised his wrestler to control Carter's arms. Other wrestlers have chosen to attack Carter's head, but Carter was familiar with that strategy. Let's try his arms, Silvers said to Bulach.
Afterward, Silvers shrugged. "My kid tried hard, but he didn't have the experience to do it the way he needed to."
Carter won the match 16-5.
What Carter has achieved is impossible to describe.
Inspiration can be a sunrise or a poem - or a kid with arms that end at the elbow and legs that stop near his hips, who has won 37 of 38 wrestling matches (and counting) in one season.
When he was 5 and meningitis had swelled his body and his temperature reached 106.6 degrees, doctors handed a consent form to his parents, asking permission to amputate all of his limbs. "On the paper it said, 'Alternative to surgery: death,' " his mom, Lori, recalled Saturday. An airborne fungus was killing her child. Lori and Russ Carter signed the form, saving their son for a different, more difficult and altogether nobler life.
This past week, Dustin could not wear the prosthetics on his legs that allow him to walk. Intense tournament wrestling had chafed his stubs to the point where they bled. "Cracks" from the rubbing and dryness, Russ explained. "This deep," he said, holding his fingers a quarter-inch apart. Hillsboro students carried their friend atop their shoulders, to and from class. Humanity works best when shared.
Dustin wants to be a nutritionist and the wrestling coach at Hillsboro. He's already doing some motivational speaking. He is a marvel of humanity.
He's also one extremely difficult kid to wrestle.
Try pouring a cup of boiling tea, from a pot with no handle. Try knocking down your shadow.
No one can recall Carter even being turned this season, from his base on all fours to his back. Wrestling is the most tactile of sports. It's less about brute strength than feel, leverage and balance. It's about finding something to hold onto.
"Everything you normally do is not functional. Everything you teach - attack a leg, attack the body - you can't do," Silvers said of wrestling Carter. He wanted it clear he was taking nothing from Carter's skill or his story. I asked how Silvers how he prepared his wrestler for this match. He answered honestly.
Carter "can wrestle his match every time," Silvers said. "All the other kids have to wrestle his match one time." Silvers estimated Carter has the torso of a 145- or 152-pounder, yet wrestles at 103 pounds. "Those (muscles) can exert 145 pounds of pressure. Not many 103-pounders can say that," Silvers said.
A visual definition of "incredible" is to see Carter flip wrestlers on their backs using less than a forearm. His opponents aren't the only guys with leverage issues.
It's fair to suggest wrestling Dustin Carter is like wrestling a snapping turtle. What's unfair is to patronize him. What's worse than that is to size him up and decide who he can be. Because here's the thing about disabled people:
They tell you who they can be.
It's their call, their game, their life. To assign limits to them is to ask a flower to stop blooming. What if someone had decided Dustin Carter couldn't wrestle?
His right arm extends from the shoulder to just above the elbow. His left arm stops just below the elbow. His reach is endless. He wrestles today with a chance to qualify for the state tournament. He has a few advantages as a wrestler.
Would you trade places with him?
Re: Armless/legless OH Wrestler Going To State!
Thanks for posting the updated information, photo and video...
Here's the story from Monday's Cincinnati Enquirer which started on the FRONT PAGE of the main news section! This from a newspaper that normally does not cover local wrestling in any serious way.
A last, tight hold
Wrestler's stirring effort celebrated with dad's hug
BY JOHN ERARDI | JERARDI@ENQUIRER.COM
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GOSHEN - On a day so emotional grown men were driven to tears, Dustin Carter did it.
He's going to state.
In the span of 4½ hours Sunday, Carter went from devastated that he couldn't avenge his earlier season loss to Nick Brascetta (Carter lost by the same 3-2 margin), to exhilarated by qualifying for the state tournament with a second-match victory that had him bellowing to the rafters, to relieved by a tiebreaking takedown with only nine seconds to go in the third match to finish third overall.
"I'll never forget this weekend," said Carter, whose four limbs are stubs from surgeries to save him from a rare blood disease at 5 years old. "All this was lingering in my mind for too long. I've been struggling to sleep all weekend, dreaming about my matches ... I'm glad it's finally over."
But the 400-some people in the Goshen gym couldn't get enough of it. They were on their feet and cheering when Carter followed his takedown in the second match with a chest-head-and-stub vicelock for the final minute and seven seconds to win 3-1 over Bethel-Tate's Dustin Davidson and qualify for the state tournament.
"That's the longest I've ever held anybody," Carter said. "I saw the 1:07 on the clock and I said to myself, 'This is what all the hard work was for. This guy's not going anywhere.' "
When it ended, Carter sat in the middle of the mat for what seemed like a minute, arm stubs clenched into his side, neck veins and muscles bulging, as he roared to the rooftop.
His father, Russ, beamed, his teammates pumped their fists, total strangers wiped away tears.
Carter scooted across the mat and made a beeline for his dad, who lifted him up and bear-hugged him for a father-son cry.
"I love you," Russ Carter said into Dustin's cauliflowered ear, the one from which five syringes of fluid were drained last week.
The ear was good enough to hear those words, and these, too:
"I'm so proud of you."
Qualifying for state culminated a six-year dream, stretching back to when Dustin told Hillsboro Junior High coach Brian Williamson that he wanted to wrestle.
"It's been the three of us seniors putting in the overtime from the start," said teammate Greg Rhoads, who finished second here to go with teammate Oney Snyder's first.
"It completes the circle for all three of us to go to state."
Even St. Paris Graham coach Jeff Jordan, a former University of Wisconsin All-American who has coached Graham to seven straight titles, was moved.
"An unbelievable story," he said.
• Photos: Carter earns berth in state tournament
Jordan had run into Carter here Saturday night.
"Hey Carter, how 'bout you and me goin' tomorrow?" Jordan asked Carter.
Carter just laughed.
Jordan told Graham's Brascetta coming into the morning match that there would be only one takedown. Whoever got it would win.
Right away in the morning match, Carter got locked up by the strong and technically sound Brascetta, who immobilized Carter's head in a chest-and-arm lock.
One takedown won it.
"Dustin had no chance," said Kyle Quickle, who as a former 103-pounder at Hillsboro mentored Carter in the early years. "Dustin didn't have the reach to get the kid's arms down."
Afterward, Brascetta was spent. He knew hardly anybody had been rooting for him. He sat on the mat and cried.
Between matches, Dustin listened to classic rock music on his father's iPod. Dustin's iPod full of mostly hard rock was stolen from the bleachers Saturday.
After the loss to Brascetta, Carter knew he had to win the next match or be ousted.
He came out smoking. No more headlocks; he attacked.
After the win to qualify for state, he called his girlfriend.
"I did all the talking," said Carter, grinning. "She was crying the entire time."
By the time Carter's third match started, there was an anticlimactic feel in the gym.
But he woke everybody up with nine seconds to go with a single-leg takedown of his opponent, Nick Greenlee of Circleville. Carter won 3-1.
"I was crankin' on that guy's leg from the get-go," Carter said. "I knew I was gonna get it once."
Carter is 39-2, including 4-1 at the two-day district tournament.
"Awesome," said Carter's coach, Nathan Horne. "Great story, great kid, one more week to see if we can live out the dream."
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