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    Thursday, June 13, 2024

    The Day’s All-Area Wrestler of the Year: East Lyme/Norwich Tech’s Lincoln Carlson

    Lincoln Carlson, a junior on the East Lyme/Norwich Tech cooperative team, was named The Day’s 2024 All-Area Wrestler of the Year. Carlson, who finished with a record of 46-1, was the Eastern Connecticut Conference, Class L and State Open champion at 175 pounds, going on to finish third in New England. (Photo courtesy of James Lackner/Killingly High School)
    East Lyme/Norwich Tech junior Lincoln Carlson, top, won the ECC championship at 175 pounds on Feb. 11, beating Stonington’s Cooper Light by major decision. Carlson finished the season 46-1, his only loss coming in the semifinals of the New England championship meet. (Photo courtesy of James Lackner/Killingly High School)
    East Lyme/Norwich Tech junior Lincoln Carlson, right, won the ECC championship at 175 pounds on Feb. 11, beating Stonington’s Cooper Light by major decision. Carlson finished the season 46-1, his only loss coming in the semifinals of the New England championship meet. (Photo courtesy of James Lackner/Killingly High School)

    After placing third at 160 pounds in the State Open as a sophomore, Lincoln Carlson made it his mission to come into the following year with a vengeance.

    At 175 pounds, Carlson finished his dominant junior season for the East Lyme/Norwich Tech cooperative wrestling team with an undefeated 42-0 record in Connecticut, winning another Eastern Connecticut Conference title and finally conquering the State Open, a title he had desired since his youth wrestling days.

    Carlson said: “I had been training the entire year waiting to get back to that moment (at the State Open). Going into that tournament, my only focus was on winning, nothing else. Placing third last year, it really motivated me to get it done this time.”

    In a full-circle moment for Carlson, he would end up winning his long-awaited State Open title against his close friend and offseason workout partner, Xavier’s Maximus Morse, earning an 8-2 decision.

    Carlson, who won ECC, Class L and State Open titles, finishing 46-1, was named The Day’s 2024 All-Area Wrestler of the Year.

    “I hate wrestling him (Morse), to be honest. It sucks for me and my family because we’re such great friends; we pretty much grew up together. I’m always rooting for him, always in his corner, so it’s tough having to go against him in this environment,” Carlson said. “Yeah, we’re good friends, but we both want to win.”

    Even though he’s seen great accomplishments in his junior year, Carlson is still left unsatisfied after placing third in the New England championship. An ultra-competitive athlete, Carlson strives to relentlessly improve until he’s considered “the best.”

    Carlson said: “I knew I had a target on my back going in because I had just gotten the (State Open) title, but I wasn’t afraid or worried about anyone. I was the fourth seed going in, and I ended up losing to the guy that won the entire tournament (Nathan Blanchette, Central Catholic, Mass.) Even though he beat me, I still made it to the podium and placed, which is something I’ve wanted to since youth.”

    “They’ll say that I had a great season because I won a state title, but in my mind I’m not even close to finished. I’m not a New England champ, I’m not the best in the area right now. I want to be at the top and I’m going to do everything in my power to get there.”

    Not only was Carlson’s performance at New Englands a big accomplishment for him, but for his coach, Ed Lorah. In his 40 years of coaching, none of his pupils had reached third place at New Englands, Lorah said.

    “He’s (Carlson) the typical story of what you’d see from a great athlete. First in the door, last to leave; he’s had to work extremely hard to get to the level he’s at now,” Lorah said.

    Someone who’s worked closely with Carlson throughout his high school career, Lorah witnessed firsthand how he continued to come back with a new intensity year after year.

    “He did all right as a freshman, obviously you can’t expect too much at that age. He did better in his sophomore year, but he didn’t finish where he wanted to be and that was the big thing for him,” Lorah said. “I think it really motivated him to take his mind and body to the next level and we see how that worked out for him.

    “There’s definitely a difference when Lincoln is on the mat versus off. He’s a humble kid, loves to talk to people, but when wrestlers step on the mat it’s battle. Lincoln is always respectful to his opponents, but on the mat he’s a whole different person. You have to be that way in order to be successful in our sport.”

    Off the mat, Carlson’s love and appreciation for his East Lyme family goes beyond sport.

    “They’ve (East Lyme) been really supportive throughout my whole journey. It’s really great to have so many people in my corner. It motivates me to compete even harder for them,” he said.

    With his junior season coming to a close, Carlson heads back to the lab to hone his skills in preparation for his final high school season.

    After wrestling at 126 pounds as freshman, 160 as a sophomore and 175 pounds as a junior, Carlson plans to move up in weight once again and wrestle at “around” 215 pounds for his senior year. It will be a big jump in terms of the overall strength of the opponent, but Carlson’s more than ready for what’s in store.

    z.cunningham@theday.com

    The Day’s 2024 All-Area Wrestling Team

    Player of the Year - Lincoln Carlson (East Lyme)

    106 pounds - Landon Herdic (NFA), Tatianna Irizarry (Ledyard)

    113 - Seth Christie (Griswold)

    120 - Hunter Sanchez (Lyman Memorial/Windham Tech)

    126 - Jackson Sorel (NFA)

    138 - Dugan Marsh (NFA)

    144 - James Linder Jr. (Montville)

    150 - Dylan Vanegas (NFA), Lucas Gannotti (Waterford)

    157 - Luke Chapman (Montville)

    165 - Chase Catalano (Old Lyme)

    175 - Cooper Light (Stonington)

    190 - Brayden Soleau (East Lyme/Norwich Tech), Zaire Wallace (NFA)

    Utility - Kaiden Smith (New London), Hoshena Gemme (Old Lyme)

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