his ultimate goal by edging Cambridge sophomore Andrew Bertubin 2-1 in
double overtime in a Division II 103-pound opening-round match on
Thursday at the State Wrestling Tournament at Ohio State. Carter’s story is extra special because of his disabilities.
COLUMBUS – Dustin Carter is living a dream.
The Hillsboro High School senior wrestler moved a step closer to his ultimate goal by edging Cambridge sophomore Andrew Bertubin 2-1 in double overtime in a Division II 103-pound opening-round match on Thursday at the State Wrestling Tournament at Ohio State.
Carter’s story is extra special because of his disabilities.
As a youngster, he contracted a blood disease known as Meningococcemia, a bacteria which also causes meningitis.
The disease forced him to nearly lose his life at age 5. He did lose his arms and legs, and had to endure several surgeries.
While some might allow this hardship to hamper their life, Carter has used his misfortunate as a positive reinforcement.
“I wake up every morning with the biggest smile in the entire world,” Carter said. “I lay back and think I’m one of the top 16 wrestlers in the state.”
Years of dedication on the mat and in training has him three wins away from a coveted state crown.
“This took years and years of learning,” Carter said. “I pick up things almost every day. I pick up at least one thing every week. There’s always something new I can learn.”
Carter relies on stubs for arms and legs, and an inner desire to nearly reach the pinnacle of his sport.
“I was still on cloud nine,” Carter said as he prepared for his first taste of state wrestling action at the Value City Arena. “I didn’t know what to think when I walked out. Everybody has been telling me how nervous you get and I did get pretty nervous, but that first match is out. I feel a lot better.”
Carter will oppose Parma Padua Franciscan freshman Andrew Romanchik in a quarterfinal round match on Friday. Franciscan pinned (5:15) Hubbard’s Tanner Thompson in other first-round action on Thursday.
“This is state and the matches are hard, but when you’re in the finals at sectionals or districts they’re going to be just as hard,” Carter said.
“He knows what to expect now and I think it’s going to be a better day (Friday),” said Hillsboro assistant coach Brian Williamson said. “I think the nerves are out now and he knows what to expect now…People don’t understand how hard he works. He is a phenomenal worker. He works harder than kids that have arms and legs, and people don’t understand that. It’s a combination of heart and people surrounding him.”
Carter has gained notoriety at the local and national level. He is a hit on You Tube and is ranked ninth in the weight class in the Brian Brakeman Wrestling Report.
“Everybody works hard in this sport,” Carter said. “To get to this level you have to work hard. The kid I just faced I guarantee he works hard.”
Carter’s match on Thursday drew a horde of media. Carter then faced the reporters and cameras after receiving a victory ride to the media room from Williamson.
Carter stands at 40-2 on the season with his lone losses coming against St. Paris Graham Local’s Nick Brascetta. Carter and Brascetta (37-7) could meet in the title match on Saturday night.
Against Bertubin, Carter escaped with 45 seconds remaining in the second period for the match’s first point and after beginning the third period neutral to even the score at 1-1, used an illegal head lock call (full nelson) against Bertubin with 15 seconds remaining in the first 30-second overtime period for the decisive point.
Carter then controlled Bertubin for the second 30-second overtime to secure the dramatic win. He tightly held Bertubin’s leg as the Steubenville district qualifier valiantly tried for a match-winning reversal.