Hempfield wrestler Eli Carr looking for more during senior season

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Tuesday, November 28, 2023 | 8:30 PM


Hempfield wrestler Eli Carr had quite a junior season.

He wouldn’t mind a repeat and an even better performance as a senior.

Not only did Carr play a key role in helping the Spartans finish third in the WPIAL team tournament and qualify for the PIAA tournament with stunning wins against Butler, Trinity and Connellsville, he became a WPIAL Class 3A 139-pound champion.

He also won his second Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association title, placed third at the Top Hat Tournament and sixth at Powerade.

Carr (78-15 overall, 42-8 last season) ended up fourth in the PIAA individual championships after tearing his lateral collateral ligament in his left knee during the consolation semifinals. The injury forced him to forfeit his third-place match.

But Carr said he did not need surgery. He got back to work to prepare for his senior season shortly after the 2023 season ended.

“Coming back from the injury I had at states is tough, but I think it fueled me more into my training,” Carr said. “I went to a couple pretty tough tournaments to try to keep myself in check in where I’m at competition-wise.

“Now with the season the starting, I’m starting to get locked in for the Top Hat tournament.”

Carr plans to compete at 152 pounds this season.

Hempfield’s new coach, former PIAA champion Steve Santia, said Carr has shown good leadership.

“I expect Eli to compete for his state title,” Santia said. “He’s definitely a decorated wrestler. I think his eyes are to compete for the state title. Obviously everyone wants to get one.

“He has to keep things simple and stay positive and healthy throughout the season. That’s the biggest thing.

“The season is grueling, and we wrestle a tough schedule. Once we get through Powerade and counties, we’ll start concentrating on the individual tournaments.”

Another thing that should help Carr is he’s already made a decision about his future, committing to Brown.

“The academics are the big reason I picked Brown,” Carr said. “It’s the Ivy League, and you can’t get much better than that. They also made me feel wanted. They wanted me to be part of what they are building. That was unique to Brown.”

He said having his choice made will allow him to focus on the season.

“I’m so excited to get the season going,” Carr said.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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