Senior Spotlight: Carson Murray, Dowling Catholic

By Joshua Swafford for The Predicament

Senior Spotlight: Carson Murray, Dowling Catholic

When did you start wrestling? Who introduced you to the sport?

I started wrestling when I was 6 years old. My Dad got me and my older brother, Caleb, into the sport.

Do you have any family who wrestled before you? How did they do?

My Dad wrestled for East High. He wrestled at 98lbs although he only weighed about 70 as a freshmen so it took him three years to get up to weight. He never qualified for state since he was so much smaller than his opponents.

Did you catch on to wrestling quickly or was it a gradual process?

I caught on very quickly as a little kid. It came really natural to me, I won a lot of tournaments as a kid.  I took a break from 4th grade to 7th grade, so my real progression was during my 8th grade year.

What club did you wrestle for growing up and how would you describe your experience with the club?

As a kid I wrestled for “The Academy” which was a program at Dowling for the more advanced youth. After my break I started wrestling for Viking Wrestling club which was great for me. I was pushed by some of the best guys in the state.

What are a couple memorable moments from youth wrestling?

Going to all the weekend tournaments with my older brother and my dad. Those are some memories I’ll never forget.

How did you finish at state tournaments in youth?

I Placed 5th and 6th at Pee Wee state my first few years of wrestling. Although I never qualified for AAU state during my youth.

What are some of your more memorable moments from high school wrestling to this point?

Qualifying for state was huge for me my junior year. That was the hump I was struggling to get over my first two years at Dowling. Competing well and placing was just a cherry on the top.

How did you finish at the state tournaments you wrestled in at the HS level to this point?

I placed 8th at 126lbs this past season.

Who were your wrestling heroes growing up? Who are your current wrestling heroes?

My wreslting heros growing up were Nashon Garrett and Jordan Burroughs. I love the explosive wrestling style they both wrestle with. Currently I am a big fan of Pat Downey, a lot of people have been hating on him and he just doesn’t care and I love that self belief he has.

Was there ever a point in your career where you noticed yourself jumping levels and making huge strides?

My summer going into junior year was when I realized I was making big improvements and I was just as good as anyone in the state.

Who have been some of your toughest competitors in high school to this point in your career?

Nick Oldham,Caleb Rathjen,and Matt Jordan have been the toughest guys I’ve wrestled. The Dowling-Valley rivalry is always huge, and I’ve gotten to wrestle Nick every year and I’m grateful for that experience.

Last year, you stepped it up at the right time and placed in a tough bracket and avenged some losses in doing so... Some people said that you came out of nowhere, but to anyone who followed you, you were making some waves for a while and it wasn’t surprising to us... how happy were you with placing last year and are you gonna keep that foot on the accelerator?

I definitely knew going into state that most people didn’t have big expectations for me and it was amazing to be able to make a name for myself and prove some people wrong. Placing was a good feeling and experience, but now I’m focused on the bigger goal and that’s winning a state title.

Was the Grand March pretty sweet this year?

It was very special for me since it was my first time being at state, and I got to walk next to Matt Jordan. A kid I grew up with on the east side of Des Moines, and we trained alongside for years. So that moment was pretty special.

What are your wrestling goals for this coming season?

I wanna go out there and let it fly. Not hold anything back, and compete at the highest level which I know I can do. The biggest goal of all is bringing home that state title, that’s what I’ve been working towards for years and now it’s time to make it happen.

How would you describe your wrestling style? Who would you compare yourself to?

My wrestling style is pretty slick I’d say, not necessarily funky but I’m a lefty and I like to my opponent into uncomfortable positions where I’m most comfortable. I also have a lot of upper body fire power on my feet that I like to hit from time to time. I’d like to compare my wrestling style to Alex Marinelli.

Do you have any regrets from wrestling that you want to make up for as a senior?

I regret taking a break from wrestling, I feel like I would have been so much better if I'd never quit. There’s nothing I can do now but make up for lost time and improve every day.

What other sports do you play and how have you done at them?

I used to play a bunch of sports. I actually took my break from wrestling to play basketball, but I was a little too short for that, lol. The last six years I’ve just focused on wrestling.

What are some of your hobbies besides wrestling?

I love to skateboard and snowboard, which my coach hates since they both are pretty dangerous and I’ve gotten hurt doing both in the past. I still find time for both and try to be as careful as possible.

What is some of the best advice you ever received?

To appreciate the nerves that come with wrestling, I used to get all nervous before big matches and my coach told me “being nervous is a good thing, it means you really care about that particular thing”, which really opened my eyes and helped me be more calm as I matured.

Do you have any advice for up and coming wrestlers?

Don’t hold anything back. Get in routine of working out, and push yourself to the point where you're never comfortable.That’s when you become great.

What is your favorite style of wrestling? Folkstyle, Freestyle or Greco?

Folkstyle for sure, it’s what I grew up learning and will wrestle in college. It’s by far my favorite.

Who were some of the most influential coaches you worked with?

As a kid Jon Garvin(The old Dowling head coach) and over the past few years my coaches at VWC, TJ Moen and Dylan Blackford have been great. Kevin Stanley my current head coach at Dowling has had a huge role in my development. I am grateful for all the amazing guys that have coached me over the years

What are your college plans? Is wrestling in your future whether it be competing or coaching?

I do plan on wrestling in college, I just don’t know where as of right now. I have interest from a few schools, I went on a visit at Grand View over the summer and I am going on a visit to Augsburg in October.

How much do you know about Dowling’s awesome wrestling history?

Everyday I’m reminded of the great wrestlers that have come before me with all of our state champs podium pictures on our walls of the wrestling room. I’m trying to get this team and program back to the elite level it has been in the past.

Did you ever meet historic Dowling coach, Bob Darrah?

I never got to meet coach Darrah, although I have heard many stories about how great of a coach he was. He led a historic run of five or six straight state championships winning the duals,individual tournament, and not losing a single regular season dual over the six years.

What is the future outlook for Dowling Wrestling?

The future is very bright for Dowling wrestling. Our youth program seems to be growing more and more every single year. Since I’ve been at Dowling, we have had a “young” team and now that young team is juniors and seniors. So this year is going to be a big one for Dowling wrestling and we are ready to make some noise.