For the Carson Family, wrestling is an integral part of their history. Growing up in West Pennsylvania–a hotbed for the sport–Bill Carson spent a large portion of his childhood in the gym and on the mat. Now living in Long Beach, Bill has passed down his love of wrestling to his two sons–Brayden, 13, and Brody, 12.
Though the brothers have yet to start high school, they’ve already displayed great promise as amateur wrestlers. Recently, both brothers reached the finals of the 2022 California USA Wrestling Kids Greco State Championships in Fresno. Competing in different weight classes, Brayden was the runner-up in the 14u 149-lb. division while Brody took home the title in the 14u 110-lb. weight class.
“It’s super exciting,” Bill said of watching his sons succeed at an early age. “In any sport, but particularly wrestling, there’s so many life skills being taught day in and day out in practice and in competitions. I’m just proud of them being able to take those lessons and those opportunities because those things are gonna benefit them later in life … It’s not an easy sport by any means, but I really like seeing how they enjoy it.”
The brothers got their first taste of the sport when they were just four and five years old, and they never looked back. In the eight years since, the sport has taken them all across the country for various tournaments and competitions. It even brought them back to West PA, where the boys got to practice at their dad’s alma mater, Kiski Area High School in Leechburg.
Getting to tour the country and compete against wrestlers from several different states has been a unique learning opportunity for both Brayden and Brody. They’ve embraced the challenge while growing as both athletes and as young men.
“Wrestling teaches you stuff along the way, not just for being good at the sport but for life in general,” Brayden said. “I think it’s pretty cool that there’s different people across the country we get to wrestle, because everybody’s a little bit different, rather than just staying in your own state and wrestling the same people.”
Given their difference in weight classes, the brothers have only actually wrestled against each other a few times–at least in an official capacity. More often, they’re recording the matches and rooting from the sidelines.
“As I’m recording Brody’s matches of course I’m trying to cheer him on and hoping he’ll win,” said Brayden. “Whenever he’s in a move, I always get nervous. I feel like I’m in that position.”
Both brothers have big dreams in the sport, and hope to win state titles in the various disciplines: freestyle, folkstyle and greco. The sport not only allows them to spend loads of time together, it has also strengthened their family bond.
“It just brings us closer because we all love the sport, and we just want to do better at it,” said Brody, who has appreciated having a big brother as a mentor. “It's been cool because he's older and can help me and show me what I need to fix or change.”
Brody’s championship at the state finals was a major accomplishment in his young career. He faced off against wrestlers from all across the state–up to age 14–and won in the finals by pin to secure his place atop the podium.
“It was special because I’d never won a state tournament, and it just feels nice standing on top of the podium,” he said. “It’s made me want to train harder and just get better.”
But the brothers’ accomplishments are not just limited to the state tournaments. Earlier this year, Brody also placed second at the national Powerade Wrestling Tournament in Pennsylvania, while Brayden took second at Tulsa Nationals, some of the most competitive national tournaments around.
Bill said he’s not yet sure where the boys will attend high school, though they both currently train at Los Alamitos and St. John Bosco. Wherever Brayden and Brody decide to wrestle next, they’ll bring a tremendous amount of experience, plenty of natural talent, and a family legacy to uphold.