By JEREMY HINES
A little brotherly love has fueled Westfield’s Carson Eldred to wrestling greatness.
Eldred set a goal his freshman year to beat his older brother Evan’s school record for pins and career wins.
“I asked Carson his freshman year what his career goals were going to be,” Westfield coach Phil Smith said. “We knew he was going to be pretty special. He said he wanted to beat his brother, Evan’s career pin record and wins record.”
Carson broke the pins record at his school during the Mooresville tournament this season. He’s five wins away from the career wins record.
“I told him after the tournament that he broke the record,” Smith said. He was like ‘uh, that’s cool.’ “
His reaction points to the type of person, and wrestler Eldred is. He doesn’t get emotional during the highs, or the lows.
“He can keep a stone face no matter what,” Smith said. “You don’t know what he’s going to do out on the mat. Every time he wrestles, he wants to prove something. He always wants bonus points and falls. He doesn’t get too up or too down.”
Eldred seeks perfection in everything he does. His grade point average is 4.15. He hasn’t missed a day of school in four years. He has never missed a wrestling practice.
“He’s honestly the best wrestler I’ve coached,” Smith said. “He’s the most gifted wrestler I’ve had, without a doubt. He absolutely hates to lose. In everything we do he hates losing. It doesn’t matter if it’s sprints, drills, wrestling the coaches or anything else. He will do whatever it takes to win at any cost.”
Currently Eldred is ranked No. 4 at 120 pounds. He is a sectional and regional champion and will take on Southport’s Khua Thang in the first round of the New Castle semistate on Saturday. He is 36-1 on the season with his lone loss coming at the hands of Cathedral’s No. 1-ranked Zeke Seltzer.
Part of the reason behind Eldred’s success is his early training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His father owns a Jiu Jitsu training facility and he learned from a young age some of the keys of the sport.
“Jiu-Jitsu helps with my movement in wrestling,” Carson said. “I haven’t done it much in a while, but when I was younger, I trained a lot with my family. It really helps you when you’re in uncomfortable positions. You don’t panic and you can find a way out of them.”
Carson is most comfortable in scrambles. His unorthodox style makes him dangerous in any position.
“He can ride anyone on top,” Smith said. “He scores a lot of his points from the top position. He’s a talented mat wrestler. He finds points from the bottom position as well and has some crazy reversals. He’s really refined his craft to be a great wrestler from any position.”
After the high school season is over Eldred will likely not wrestle competitively again. He will attend Purdue University where he is a direct admit to the engineering program.
“It’s going to be a little tough,” he said. “I’ve been wrestling since I was in kindergarten. It’s been a big part of my life. It will be a hard adjustment not interacting with teammates or getting a chance to wrestle in front of fans again and have people cheering for you. It will be different. But I’m excited to focus on my schooling as well.”
For now though, the focus is on getting to that state championship match.
“I’m just following in my brothers’ footsteps,” Eldred said. “They both (Dillon and Evan) made it to state. I want to outdo them.”