Laurel wrestler comes home for the holiday

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Story and photos by GARRETT HARR
Outlook staff writer

Story and photos by
GARRETT HARR
Outlook staff writer

Laurel hosted the MSU Northern versus Northwest Wyoming College wrestling dual last weekend and it brought together more than local sports fans. Laurel High School graduate Clayton Carter, now MSU Northern college freshman, wrestled in the exhibition match of the tournament. And no one in the dim lit stadium could be heard cheering him more loudly on than his mother Sue. She has been to every one of his matches since he was five years old.
Sue was born in the south of the suburbs of Chicago. She moved with her parents to Las Vegas and attended college and the UNLV, which is where she met Clayton’s father Greg. He was originally from Laurel. 
They were both looking for a more family-oriented city to raise their children.
“Everyone was so friendly when we first arrived,” said Sue. “I was shell-shocked and immediately I knew we had chosen the perfect place to raise our children.” Sue’s parents eventually joined her in 2002.
“It takes a village,” she said. “It takes grandparents, friends, and so many more to raise a family. And Laurel has been by far the best village.” 
Clayton had a very loving and supportive childhood. He was shy and humble, but everyone seemed to gravitate towards him. He started wrestling when he was just five years old. He was following in the footsteps of his father; a wrestler, and his grandfather Marv; a wrestling coach.
Clayton’s mom eventually got her son involved in the Amateur Athletic Union, where she drove him everyday to practice for the Laurel Mat Burners AAU wrestling club. It was through this involvement that she became very passionate and interested in the sport.
Clayton had a talent very early. He won Most Improved Tot in the league and everyone around him could see potential for something great. 
He placed three times at LHS, and took home the state championship his senior year in his weight class.
After graduating from LHS he was granted a wrestling scholarship to MSU Northern. Being away from his family has been difficult, but his mom could tell it was time for him to leave.
“I knew he was ready to leave the nest,” she said. “Excruciating for me the last week, doing laundry before he left for college. I washed his clothes and it was tortuous to say goodbye. I felt like I was losing my buddy. But the the ride up to Havre with just me and him … I knew. I could tell he was ready.”
The relationship between a mother and son can be empowering and everlasting, she said. The two still communicate every week.
Clayton credits his mother and grandpa for much of his success. “My mom and my grandpa are the ones who made me the person I am. I have always looked up to my mom. She has always been there pushing me in everything,” he said.
The love is evident from both mother and son.
“I am incredibly proud of my son, and feel very honored to be his mom,” said Sue. “I am really humbled by all the people who have supported him. Wrestling turned into life. The caliber of people he has been fortunate to be around, the appreciation I have for Laurel, the village. I love him to death, the coolest kid ever, so pleased to see the young man he is growing into.”
And what will it be like to have her son home for Thanksgiving?
“I always make him special mash-potatoes or a piece of fish, for a wrestler.”
Both mother and son will have a a few days to sit around the table together this Thanksgiving, catch up, laugh, and be illuminated by the love and warmth of family.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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