A Man For All Seasons

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 28, 2008

At 5-foot-7, 135 pounds, Marc Carter doesn’t appear to have the size to withstand a grueling schedule of three demanding sports such as football, basketball and track.

But the opposite holds true. Carter has not only been able to withstand the punishment to his body, he’s excelled at all three.

And he’s loving it.

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Carter was an All-Ohio wide receiver in football and an All-Ohio point guard for the basketball team. Add that to his track career that has seen him enjoy a runner-up finish in the Division II state meet 800 meter run.

“There’s not really one sport I like more than the over. I just enjoy sports. That’s all I’ve ever known,” said Carter.

Now don’t think that Carter isn’t affected by the grind and pace. He admitted it wears on him physically and mentally, especially when he sees some of his friends and other kids just hanging out when he has a workout.

“It’s tough, but then when you see the rewards of what you do it’s all worth it,” said Carter.

One of the rewards was huge, a track scholarship to the University of Akron.

Carter is still building toward the state meet but he won’t allow himself to look too far ahead.

“I’m not even thinking about it. It’s so far away right now,” said Carter. “I’m not going to worry about the state yet. I’ve got to get in shape.

Getting in shape is still hard for Carter, but he said playing other sports helps because he doesn’t have to start his training from scratch.

He said football is not that difficult for him.

“I’ve always been this size. I kind of see it as an advantage because I’m small and I’m quick and elusive. I was never scared,” said Carter.

The most difficult transition for the Ironton senior is switching gears from basketball to track.

“You have to be in specific shape,” said Carter. “Basketball uses stop and go muscles, but track is a run all the time workout. But I’m always in shape and I get stronger through every sport.”

With his success the past two years, Carter would appear to be a favorite to win the 800-meter state title this season. But Carter said he isn’t buying that reasoning.

“I’m going to go into (the tournament) hungry because I came in second place the last two years,” said Carter.

“I don’t see myself as the favorite. You can’t take anything for granted. Last year people in front of me and behind me graduated and some guy came out of nowhere and won.”

While Carter is expected to do well in track, he was aware that the basketball team was not expected to have a winning record. Carter helped lead the Fighting Tigers to a 13-10 record and they advanced to the Division III district championship.

Ironton was a regional finalist his junior year and state runners-up as a sophomore.

Carter saw his role change from backup point guard as a sophomore to a starter as a junior and the team’s leader as a senior.

“It was a little disappointing because we went out (of the tournament) like we did. We didn’t play well. But nobody thought we had a chance to get to Athens (for the district tournament),” said Carter.

“I wanted to leave coach (Mark) LaFon with something for all he’s done for me.

We’ve built a tradition and I wanted to go out a winner. Getting to the district finals was important. I got to carry on the tradition Brigham (Waginger) and Dennis (Gagai) started.”

And with judging by Carter’s career, he has his own tradition for someone to follow.