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Meet the Manvilles, a Family That Wrestles Together

By Sean Jensen, SportsEngine, 10/13/18, 6:00PM CDT

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Carson Manville inspired to one-up his older brother at Youth Olympic Games

Mason and his younger brothers Carson and Pierson are quickly transforming Manville into one of the legendary names in wrestling, emerging in the shadows of Sanderson, Brands and Peery.


Wrestler Carson Manville competes for the U.S. in the Youth Olympic Games on Sunday. Photo by Jim Thrall, MatFocus.com


Carson Manville

Carson Manville, athletic and relentless on the wrestling mat, retreats when the inevitable question comes.

Manville is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he’s set to compete in freestyle wrestling on Sunday at the Youth Olympic Games. Four years ago, in Nanjing, China, his older brother Mason Manville won a silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling after losing 1-0 to Cadet European Champion and Cadet World bronze medalist Islambek Dadov of Azerbaijan.

“What will you say to Mason if you win a Youth Olympic Games gold medal?”

“I’m not going to rub it into his face, though I may think about it for a split second,” Carson said after pausing and laughing. “But I’m gonna thank him for everything he’s done in the past.”

Mason and his younger brothers Carson and Pierson are quickly transforming Manville into one of the legendary names in wrestling, emerging in the shadows of Sanderson, Brands and Peery. Mason wants his brothers to excel, but he revels in the rise of the family name.

“I am proud,” he said, “and I think people should get used to hearing that name.”

And why not: Susan and David Manville have sacrificed plenty for their boys to thrive in the sport. Though their home is in Lorton, Virginia, the Manville boys have crisscrossed the country to compete for an assortment of clubs and schools in Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

“Some people think we are crazy because we do so much wrestling,” Susan Manville told Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine in August 2017. “We have three kids at three different levels, and we’ve been able to stay together and not separate. This has allowed us to be a close-knit family.“The family that wrestles together, stays together.”


The 2018 U.S. Youth Olympic Games wrestling team of, left to right, Tiare Ikei, Robert Howard, Carson Manville and Emily Shilson poses together in Buenos Aires. Photo courtesy of USA Wrestling

FIRST FAMILY

David Manville wrestled at NAIA level then served 26 years in the military. In Virginia he created a wrestling club.

Mason started wrestling at age 4, and he also participated in a few other sports. But he was drawn to wrestling. Mason, though, didn’t fully commit until about the fifth grade.

“Ever since,” Mason said, “we’ve been a serious wrestling family.”

He recalled saying at 10 that his goal was to be an Olympic and world champion.

“When you’re young, you don’t understand the whole scope,” Mason said. “My father didn’t say I could be and pump me up. He just said what it was and what it would take.”

Five years Mason’s junior, Carson realized around the age of 7 that big brother was really, really good, as he battled against some of the nation’s top wrestlers.

“Then I was 9 or 10, I realized he was really good at the Olympic style and that made me get into it and made me want to push to be as good if not better than him,” Carson said. “In some cases I am, in other tournaments I’ve proven I’m not as good as him.”

For his part, Mason does not spend any time thinking about any comparisons.

Asked about Carson possibly topping his Youth Olympic Games silver medal, Mason said, “Of course I’m rooting for him."

“I can’t look back and shoulda, woulda, coulda about the Youth Olympic Games,” Mason added. “That’s in the past for me. I’m most worried about what’s next for me, which is my season at Penn State, senior worlds next year and the 2020 Olympics.”

Mason said he leaves advising and teaching to his parents. But Carson pointed to three pieces of advice from his big brother he leans on: Never overlook an opponent at an international event, do not let either a victory or loss impact your mindset and stay positive because every opportunity is an amazing one.

“I just love the competition, and the fact that I can make friends from other countries and experience things I’m never going to forget,” Carson said.

PROSPECTING IN ARGENTINA

Mason’s got a truckload of medals and awards, but Carson’s got quite a cache himself. He won a prep title in Minnesota as an eighth grader, and he won both the Greco-Roman and freestyle divisions at the U.S. Cadet Pan American Team Trials.

Though he enjoys measuring himself against his big brother, Carson doesn’t seem to have the same competitive edge toward his little brother Pierson, who is three years younger.

“I love that little man," Carson said. "I’m hoping he’s better than me. I know that’s not what most people's older brothers say, but he’s a little animal, and he’s worked hard, and I’m hoping he does better than me at any tournament he goes to.”

Just as Mason did for him, Carson’s got some advice for Pierson.

“I’m gonna tell him he can’t take any matches light," Carson said. "That was my problem at worlds. For the first time ever I stepped on a mat nervous, and it ended up biting me.”

Carson said the world event was the biggest he’d ever participated in. After an amazing opening ceremony, Carson said the Youth Olympic Games also feels like a massively important stage, too.

“It’s motivated me to train extremely hard, and this is the best shape I’ve ever been in,” Carson said. “This is the best technique I’ve ever had. I feel I’m in a good position to win.”

While dad is tending to Pierson and big brother is training with Penn State, Carson is in Argentina with his mother. When his matches commence on Sunday, Sandy will provide text message updates to the others.

“They’re fully committed,” Team USA Youth Olympic Games coach Sam Barber said of the Manvilles, “to getting every opportunity they can for their boys to compete and succeed at the highest levels.”

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About Sean Jensen

Sean Jensen was born in South Korea, but he was raised in California, Massachusetts and Virginia, mostly on or near military bases. Given his unique background, he's always been drawn to storytelling, a skill he developed at Northwestern University and crafted for the last 16 years, almost exclusively covering the NFL. Sean lives in a Minneapolis suburb with his wife, two children and dog. Read more

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