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Redshirt senior, Zac Carson, poses for a portrait in the wrestling room at Ohio University.

Wrestling: Zac Carson has become a leader for Ohio two years after his transfer

Zac Carson knew that he would comfortable when he transferred to Ohio from Eastern Michigan in 2018.  

Kyle Kaminski, a friend of Carson’s since middle school and a former Ohio wrestler, was one of many reasons why Carson decided to leave Ypsilanti for Athens. Thanks to Kaminski, the people who Carson met at Ohio through him and great visits with the coaching staff made Carson confident that the Bobcats were the right team for him.  

Everything about Ohio seemed to match up with what Carson wanted. 

“I just felt like it was a really good fit,” Carson said.  

For Carson, the transfer process was both busy and fast. Right after he got the word that he could leave Eastern Michigan and decided that he was going to Ohio, he had to get his transcripts over to his new school and begin taking summer classes right away. All of that lasted from March to when the fall semester started in August that year.  

Luckily, the fall wasn’t nearly as busy for him.  

“Once I got through that summer, it was pretty good,” Carson said.  

Carson is a bigger fan of Athens than he is of Ypsilanti. He doesn’t have a problem with his old campus, but Carson loves the architecture, buildings and atmosphere that he believes gives Athens more of a college feel. 

While staying in the Mid-American Conference wasn’t a priority during Carson’s transfer, he thinks that his experience in the conference helped him throughout the process. He knew that other MAC coaches were paying attention to him after he qualified for the NCAA Tournament through Eastern Michigan and that they knew his style of wrestling. That helped bring a lot of interest toward him. 

Schools aren’t the only thing that has changed throughout Carson’s wrestling career. He has switched weight classes twice: first in 2017 at Eastern Michigan when he went up to 165-pounds from 157-pounds and again in 2018 when he went back down to 157-pounds in his first year with the Bobcats.  

Carson never had a problem with these changes.  

“At Eastern (Michigan), my coaches talked to me about going up, and I was like, ‘Alright, I can wrestle whatever weight,’” Carson said.  

When Carson came down to Ohio, he didn’t know what would be available to him, so he was ready to wrestle in whatever weight group that the team needed him in. He talked things over with coach Joel Greenlee and made the final switch back down to his original weight class. 

Carson felt quicker when he came down, as well.  

“I worked on more footwork and stuff like that when I came back down,” Carson said. “I think that made a big difference, too.” 

Since he is a fifth year and one of two returning Bobcats that qualified for the NCAA Tournament last year, Carson sees himself as a bit of a leader now. He’s had so much experience that he understands how certain wrestlers work. 

He knows what he needs to do in order for himself and his team to be successful. 

“(I’m) just trying to get people to understand what they need to do,” Carson said. “That doesn’t have to be the same thing as me, but (I’m) just kind of trying to take that leadership role to be able to be, ‘This is what need we need to do. This is how we need to do it.’” 

The team that Carson is leading is young, which unfortunately showed in the team’s slow start this season. The team lost a lot of tough duals, the wrestlers would perform inconsistently from week to week and the Bobcats simply couldn’t figure themselves out. 

Carson, however, is seeing a lot of progress with the team.  

“These last few months, it’s cliché, but we’ve been working hard, and it’s showed up on the mat,” Carson said. “I think we keep progressing and do pretty well, and we’ll get a lot of guys to nationals.” 

This season will be Carson’s last with the team, and he’ll miss the experience of getting through practices with some of his best friends everyday while they also joke around and have a good time.  

He won’t graduate until next fall, when he plans to start a career as a student teacher. After graduation, he would love to coach wrestling, whether it be in high school or college.  

Both wrestling and the state of Ohio have always been important to Carson. Being from Akron, coming back to his home state was an important factor in Carson’s recruiting process. He loved Athens’ location because he was far away enough to do his own thing, but he was also able to remain within the reach of the people important to him back home.  

Those people will always be a big part of his life. 

“The people who support you along the way are really important to me,” Carson said. “I love the people here, and I love the people at home.” 


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