New Hampton wrestling makes class move renaming tournament

Mary Kay Carr knows her husband would be humbled beyond words about the news that broke last weekend.The New Hampton Invitational dual-meet wrestling tournament is no more; instead, it will be replaced by the Doc Carr Dual Tournament.“He would be so humbled, so honored and maybe a little embarrassed,” Mary Kay said Friday afternoon, a day after New Hampton coach Nick Hemann made the announcement. “If he were here, he’d probably say ‘no way,’ but really, it means so much to our family.”It’s been almost five months since Dr. James Carr suddenly passed away at the age of 77.To say Carr was a giant in our community would be a proverbial understatement.He was a hometown boy who — save for his college, medical school and residency days — stayed home and gave so much of his time, talents and efforts to his hometown.Carr won an individual state championship in 1957, a year in which the Chickasaws claimed the Class B state team title.Ten years later, he and his wife moved back to New Hampton, and thus began a remarkable medical career but he never lost the love for the sport that made him a state champion.When Doc Carr passed away in May, I wrote a column about his love for the sport and all those who participated in it.What always struck me is that he didn’t care just about his kids or his grandchildren were doing on the mat.And he was a fervent supporter of every single Chickasaw — from the kids who won state titles to those that might have won only one match in an entire season.Having his name attached to a dual tournament is, in a word, perfect.“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now,” New Hampton coach Nick Hemann said, “because it’s people like Doc Carr who made the program we have today. The support we got from him and his family ... it was just the right thing to do.”So on Jan. 7, the Carr family will gather for an almost perfect day to remember a husband, father and grandfather.And so, too, will a community Carr gave so much to as a doctor and a public servant.When he retired from his practice, it took a lot for him to miss a wrestling meet or a tournament, and I will always have memories of seeing Mary Kay and him at meets.They were not “yellers” by any means, but Doc Carr — especially during a close match on the mat — wore an intense look, almost as if he wanted to go down and finish off a takedown, escape, reversal or a pin himself.So it’s going to be strange this winter not to see Doc Carr in the stands or talk to him after a meet.Something will be missing, but New Hampton wrestling did it right when they renamed its tournament.“When they told me what they were going to do,” Mary Kay said Friday afternoon, “I can’t tell you how much I was moved. It means the world to me.”My hope is that the current group of Chickasaws along with the rest of the field that includes Albert Lea, Minn., Dover-Eyota Minn., Southeast Polk, Waterloo East and Waukon will take a moment on that January day to remember a man who meant so much to wrestling here in Northeast Iowa.“It’s going to be a special day,” Hemann said, “and I know Doc Carr’s going to be with us.”•••••During the first-ever Doc Carr Dual Tournament, New Hampton will also honor its 1957 state championship team.Back then, there were 11 weight classes, and New Hampton won four individual titles. Larry Serverson at 95, James Carr at 103 and Arlin Severson at 112 all won their final matches by 4-0 scores while Bob Duvall won his 165-pound title with a 3-1 overtime win.“It’s going to be a great day to celebrate our wrestling program,” Hemann said. “That was a pretty dang remarkable team, and we can’t think of a better way to kick off the Doc Carr Dual Tournament then having his buddies together again.”

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