Sunday, February 29, 2004

Good sports: Wrestler driven by determination



Click here to e-mail Russell
Four months ago, Hillsboro eighth-grader Dustin Carter maneuvered into a sitting position, looked up at his first-ever wrestling opponent at a school meet and promptly forgot everything he'd learned.

"All of a sudden, I just didn't know what to do," the 14-year-old said. "I froze."

Dustin noticed his coaches' shouts and the fans' cheers and something started to click. While he didn't win that match, the burgeoning grappler eventually earned a 12-11 record by relying on his wits and brute strength.

Not even once - not for a minute - did he consider wearing his prosthetic arms or legs.

A devastating bout with meningitis had left a 5-year-old Dustin in a coma after he survived a series of near-death scares. His father, Russell, said it was like "catching the flu, just more severe. His body just shut down."

Gangrene in his extremities forced the amputation of his left arm just above the elbow, his right arm below the elbow and most of both legs. Dustin doesn't remember any of it.

His body now is the only one he's known, and because of it he was hesitant about approaching middle school principal Rosalie Satterfield with a question: "Would it be possible for him to try wrestling?" To which she said: "Why not?"

"He has a really gritty 'I'll-do-it-myself,' self-sufficient attitude. He doesn't want any help," she said.

Co-coaches Brian Williamson and Shaun Culbreath let it be known that Dustin was part of the team, and that teammates should treat him with the same respect they awarded each other. But Dustin's differences weren't a problem.

Once he gained confidence on the mat, his 102-pound opponents had a tough time eluding his unique style.

Dustin, who rarely wears his prosthetic arms anyway, discovered he was more mobile without the legs.

Williamson said Dustin would hop on his arm 'nubs' to move around. He's quick and he's strong, and if you aren't paying attention he'll whip around behind you, Williamson said.

"He'll climb you like a tree and take you to the ground," Williamson said.

Dustin finished the season with six pins; his fastest was in 12 seconds. But his crowning moment was at the Tecumseh Invitational in December, where he was awarded the fourth-place medal for his weight class and the Tournament MVP award.

The middle-schooler, who has become an inspirational source to his community, said his disability has even been an asset of sorts along the way. So has his sense of humor.

"Usually, people want to lock up your wrists when you're wrestling. They can't lock up me," he said with a grin. "I haven't got any."

JIMMY CANYON/PLEASANT RIDGE

The 37-year-old bodybuilder won three amateur championships before earning his pro card this fall. In June, the middleweight won the National Physique Committee's Junior Nationals Bodybuilding Championship in Illinois; in July, he won the NPC USA Championship in Las Vegas; and in November, he won the NPC National Middleweight Championship Nationals in Florida. He turned pro after the final competition, and is a member of the International Federation of BodyBuilders. Canyon, a trainer at Das Gym in Montgomery, will compete in his first pro competitions in May. "I'm really excited," said the 5-foot-5, 200-pound Canyon. "They're all very gifted; they're the best."

LINDNER FAMILY/CINCINNATI

The Carl Lindner Jr. family has received the annual United States Tennis Associations/Midwest Section's 2003 Family of the Year Award for their contributions to tennis. Carl, wife Edyth and their children, Craig, Carl III and Keith are lifelong tennis players and lifetime members of the Greater Cincinnati Tennis Association (GCTA). The Carl and Edyth Lindner Family Tennis Center at Lunken Playfield was recently honored with a 2003 USTA Outstanding Facility Award for its efforts to promote and develop the growth of tennis. This facility conducts the Greater Cincinnati area qualifier, Ohio Valley Tennis Association district qualifier, other USTA sanctioned tournaments, and USA League Tennis. The Lindner children and their spouses have volunteered for various tennis events and programs, including the Inner City Youth Opportunities organization.

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E-mail srussell@enquirer.com




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SUNDAY PAGE TWO
Good sports: Wrestler driven by determination
XU tennis players near singles mark
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A quick chat with ... Scott Smith
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