Defending champion still looking to improve
Stars and Stripes February 16, 2011
RAF MILDENHALL, England — When the DODDS Europe football season ended a couple of years ago, Adam Carroll, then a Lakenheath High School freshman, had a decision to make.
He could either choose a winter sport like basketball or wrestling, or he could join the off-season group and attend daily gym workouts.
“And I knew I wouldn’t make it to the gym every day,” Carroll said.
So he became a wrestler. Now two years later and a junior, Carroll is co-captain of the team. He is also poised to compete for his second European title this week at Wiesbaden — last year he won the 130-pound title while this time around he is in the 145-pound weight class.
Despite posting a 14-0 record, including one exhibition match, Carroll called his season “all right.” That’s partly because the competition in his weight class at the majority of the team’s meets has been slim. Typically he draws a bye for the early rounds, he said.
“I’d prefer to be wrestling,” he said.
At the Northern Sectionals last weekend, Carroll competed in only one match due to a first-round bye and forfeiture by Baumholder contender Prince Owusu in the finals — a match Carroll had been looking forward to.
Carroll has lived in several places growing up but said he considers San Angelo, Texas, his home. He had never wrestled before his freshman year. Had it not been for his football coach, he might have never wrestled at all.
Coach Matt Martinez, now the school’s athletic director, said he always pushes athletes to try out for the wrestling team since only about 20 people make the basketball team and it’s a great way for them to stay in shape and get faster and stronger.
“I am happy that [Carroll] found something that he not only enjoys doing, but also that he has the opportunity to be a champion at it,” Martinez said via e-mail this week.
In his first year of wrestling, he lost in the finals of the 125-pound class to three-time champion Chris Campos of Naples.
“If you consider he came in as a freshman, learned a few moves and ends up in second in Europe, that’s a pretty good athlete,” said wrestling coach Darryl Brock, a 23-year coaching veteran at Lakenheath.
In his second season, he brought home the gold in the 130-pound class. After the championship match, Carroll watched a video of the contest.
“When I saw the video of my finals match, I realized the level that I was wrestling at and said ‘I need to get better,’ ” Carroll recalled.
In an effort to improve his skills, Carroll attended a weeklong wrestling camp at Penn State University last summer. There he faced top wrestlers from across America — one of them a kid who was not yet in high school and was handily beating others due to his technique, Carroll said.
“I worked a lot on technique, because all I used to rely on was my brute strength,” he said. “Wrestling is a great sport. It takes a lot of hard work. You can’t just muscle your way through it.”
But for him it is not all about winning. Carroll said his favorite parts of wrestling are the conditioning drills in practice and the madhouse rush to the local food court when Europeans are finally over. There are a lot of hungry young men who want to chow down after a long and strenuous season.