|The National Wrestling Hall of Fame announced that it will showcase three-time NCAA Division I national champions from Pennsylvania at the NCAA Wrestling Fan Fest in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Hall A on March 21-23. Held in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, the Fan Fest is free to the public.
The Hall of Fame will also host a roundtable discussion, moderated by Tom Elling, with three-time NCAA champion Nate Carr, two-time NCAA champion David Taylor and Erin Vandiver, who is the girls wrestling coach at national high school powerhouse Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School in Kingston, Pennsylvania. The three will discuss their careers in wrestling and the role that the Keystone State played.
The event will be held on Thursday, March 21, from 3:45-4:30 p.m. on the Fan Fest Main Stage in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center – Hall A. Carr, Taylor and Vandiver will sign autographs immediately following the discussion.
“Pennsylvania has an amazing wrestling history and has hosted the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships 14 times, including in Pittsburgh in 1957 and 2019,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Lee Roy Smith. “There have been countless national champions either from Pennsylvania or wrestling for Pennsylvania schools, including 10 three-time NCAA Division I champions. We want to give wrestling fans an opportunity to hear from some of the state’s great wrestlers to learn more about the incredible impact that Pennsylvania has had on our sport at the state, national and international level.”
A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, Carr was a Pennsylvania state champion and a three-time NCAA champion and a two-time Big 8 champion for Iowa State University. A Distinguished Member inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003, he won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics and represented the United States in two World Championships. Carr is currently an associate director at the Cyclone Regional Training Center in Ames, Iowa, and also a member of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors. He was an assistant coach at West Virginia University, being named National Assistant Coach of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches Association in 1991, and, most recently, coached at Perry High School in Massillon, Ohio, where his son, David, was a four-time state champion and the national winner of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award.
The Carr family had six brothers who wrestled in college and five earned All-American honors, beginning with Fletcher, who was an All-American at the University of Tampa in 1972 and 1973. Fletcher then became the first African-American full-time head coach at the University of Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to two Southeastern Conference titles. He was also the first African-American coach to have an African American wrestler earn Division I All-America honors when his brother, Joe, finished third in 1975. Joe finished third again in 1976 while Jimmy finished fifth in 1977. Jimmy finished sixth at the 1971 Senior World Championships as a 16 year old and is the youngest American to compete in the Olympics, wrestling as a 17-year-old high school junior in 1972. Mike was an All-American for West Virginia in 1988.
Vandiver, who served many years as USA Wrestling’s Assistant National Women’s Coach, has been coaching at Wyoming Seminary since 2017. Competing under her maiden name Erin Tomeo, she was a member of the 2001 and 2006 U.S. World Teams and was a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete. She was the first girl in Pennsylvania wrestling history to place at the district high school boys wrestling tournament, finishing fourth, and to win a match at the regional tournament. Vandiver also won Cadet World bronze medals in 1998 and 1999. She wrestled at Lock Haven University as a member of the men’s team in 2001-02 with eventual Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann, World medalist Jenny Wong and World team member Jenna Pavlik. Vandiver’s brother, Tom Tomeo, was an All-American for Clarion University while her cousin, Seth Creasy, was an NCAA qualifier for Lock Haven. Her husband, Chad Vandiver, wrestled at Northern Illinois and was a member of the Greco-Roman National Team.
Taylor was a two-time NCAA champion and a two-time NCAA runner-up for Penn State University while helping lead the Nittany Lions to four national team titles. The national winner of the Hall of Fame’s Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award in 2009, Win Magazine named him as the Hodge Trophy award winner, presented to the best college wrestler, in 2012 and 2014. Taylor was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Year in 2011, 2012 and 2014 while winning four Big Ten championships. He won his first World Championship in 2018 and was named the best pound-for-pound freestyle wrestler in the world in 2018 by United World Wrestling after earning more ranking points than any other freestyle wrestler in any class. A four-time Ohio state high school champion and a two-time high school All-American, he has M2 Training Center in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania.
Elling, who received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the Hall of Fame’s Pennsylvania Chapter in 2007, founded the Pennsylvania Wrestling newspaper and has been the Pennsylvania editor for Wrestling USA Magazine since 1974. He coached Lock Haven High School while also serving as a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association official and acting as tournament director of operations at the PIAA State Championships. Elling created the first PA Wrestling website and the PA Wrestling handbook and currently serves as vice president of the Hall of Fame’s Pennsylvania Chapter.
Schedule of Events
Thursday, March 21
3-7 p.m. NCAA Fan Festival and Win Magazine Memorabilia Show
5:15-6 p.m. National Wrestling Hall of Fame Roundtable Discussion
6-6:30 p.m. Autograph session with Nate Carr, David Taylor and Erin Vandiver
Friday, March 22
2-7:30 p.m. NCAA Fan Festival and Win Magazine Memorabilia Show
Saturday, March 17
1-6:30 p.m. NCAA Fan Festival and Win Magazine Memorabilia Show