Many wrestling fans around Iowa have known the Happel name for years since Dean Happel was winning his 3rd state title at Lisbon back in 1984. In recent years the talk has switched to his growing family and his boys who have made a big name for themselves wrestling for Lisbon. Now the oldest boy, Carter, has won his 3rd state title and is looking to join an elite club of Iowa 4 time state champions next year as a senior. Along with the state titles Carter is already a freestyle national champion, made the Cadet world team, and has become one of the top recruits in the country for the class of 2016. I recently had a chance to catch up with Carter and ask him a few questions about his future plans.
What does your summer wrestling schedule look like? What events are you planning on attending in the coming months?
I have been training at the Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club. This summer I will be going to Northern Plains Regionals, Junior National Duals, Junior State, and Fargo (Junior freestyle nationals).
Last summer you made the Cadet world team and were able to travel overseas to train and compete. What were you able to take away from that experience that has helped you out?
Before going over seas, I got the opportunity to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Training there was awesome and I had a great time meeting and competing with the guys on my team. Wrestling over seas was an amazing experience. Freestyle wrestling over seas is at a whole different level. The guys from other countries grow up only wrestling freestyle, and none of them have ever wrestled folk style. I hope to get a chance to wrestle internationally again.
You have already joined an impressive group of three-time state champions from Iowa including your father Dean. What would it mean to become the 25th four-time state champ in Iowa history?
I have been pushing myself throughout my high school career to achieve this goal. I have witnessed a few wrestlers win 4 state titles and get the standing O from the crowd. I can’t wait for the opportunity to put myself in the spotlight and try for my fourth.
I know that your recruiting has really picked up and many college coaches from all over the country are trying to get there pitch in to you of why you should go to there school. Do you have any time table for when you would like to make a decision on college?
I have been in contact with multiple schools so far in the recruiting process. I am going to take it easy and take my visits. I don’t want to regret a decision because of rushing things. Hopefully by the start of my senior year of wrestling I will make a decision.
Do you maybe have a short list of schools that are leading the way at this point?
I wouldn’t put any schools in order right now, but I have been in contact with Iowa, Iowa State, UNI, Minnesota, and Penn State pretty frequently.
Who have been your biggest influences in your wrestling career?
My coaches have been a huge influence on me throughout my career including my dad, my high school coaches Brad Smith and Greg Butteris, and my club coaches Joe Slaton and Jim Kelly.
What wrestlers do you enjoy watching?
I really enjoy watching wrestlers that like to score a lot of points. A few people I like watching are the Brands brothers, David Taylor, and Tony Ramos.
What do you like to do to get away from wrestling and relax?
When I am not wrestling I like to go golfing or fishing with friends, watch movies, or hangout with my girlfriend.
I would also like to add that I am thankful for all of the help I get from my coaches, parents, family, community and thank God for the talents he has blessed me with.