GOSHEN, Ohio — The scream that Dustin Carter let loose in a gym here last weekend conveyed equal parts pain and elation. It was the sound of glory for a high school senior who wrestles unlike any of his opponents.
Carter, 18, is a 103-pounder whose legs end at his hips, whose right arm stops just after his elbow and whose left arm is even shorter. He had the rest taken from him at age 5 because of a blood infection that required extensive amputations.
His life is not easy, but he gets by just fine — particularly on the wrestling mat. His scream was his guttural recognition that he had earned a berth in the state’s Division II wrestling tournament, finishing third in his region and carving out his place among the best wrestlers in Ohio. On Thursday in Columbus, he won a match in triple overtime to reach the quarterfinals.
“He’s our miracle,” said his mother, Lori Carter. “He’s my hero. He’s my son, but he’s also my hero.”
Carter has compiled a 41-2 record this season for Hillsboro High School, about 55 miles east of Cincinnati. He has also won a handful of tournaments and inspired nearly everyone who has watched him.
“His perseverance speaks for itself,” said Scott Goodpaster, Carter’s trainer. “He wants to win. He wakes up every day wanting to win. This is his passion, and he bleeds for it. He works so hard to get by in life.”