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Badin wrestling program in great shape as Carpenter hands reins over to Martin

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Dexter Carpenter has left a strong legacy as he turns the reins of the Badin High School wrestling program over to Craig Martin.

“I’ve had a ball,” said Carpenter, the head coach who started the program from the ground up for the 2005-06 season and is retiring this summer. “This has defined me for the last 15 years. You can mark Badin wrestling as one of the greatest things I have ever done in my life.”

Martin was announced as Badin’s new head wrestling coach on Friday, March 13. He’s looking forward to the opportunity.

“Dexter Carpenter has done a tremendous job,” said Martin, a former head wrestling coach at Taylor and Talawanda high schools. “At so many schools, the number of wrestlers is headed in the wrong direction. That’s not the case at Badin. The numbers are great. I have big shoes to fill, and it’s an honor to do it.”

“We feel great about our wrestling program,” Badin Athletic Director Geoff Melzer said. “Dexter Carpenter has made wrestling a popular sport at Badin, and now Craig Martin is in a position to build on that effort. We’re going to move forward with a lot of confidence.”

Carpenter came on board at Badin just as the Pfirman Family Activity Center was being completed behind the school. One of the key components of the PFAC – a wrestling room, which has now been christened the Dexter Harold Carpenter Wrestling Room.

“I appreciate the fact that Badin was willing to take a chance on me,” said Carpenter, 65, who had previously been the head wrestling coach at Northwest High. “They let me do things my way. There was no formula; no manual. We just let the students know that they could be a part of something; that they had a home in wrestling.”

Carpenter, a member of the Deer Park High Athletic Hall of Fame and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, recalled the early years when he grabbed a few band members to get them to wrestle, and even picked off a few students who had been cut from other sports. He also encouraged girls to come out, and has a had a number of successful females – including Samantha Caballero, who was just named the GCL Co-ed Division Wrestler of the Year; and Andrea Schlabach, a GCL league champion from the Class of 2019 who is wrestling at the University of the Cumberlands.

“I was told that Badin was a “ball” school – football, basketball and baseball – and that wrestling wouldn’t last three years,” Carpenter said. “Not true — Badin has been ‘in’ all the way. This has been a great run. We have a lot of respect in the wrestling community. Craig Martin is going to take it to the next level. We can be all that.”

Martin, 43, is in private business and has had several stints as an assistant in Badin’s wrestling program – including the first year and this most recent season, when Badin won the GCL Co-ed Division championship and sent six wrestlers to the Division II district tournament.

“I’ve seen first-hand where the program has come from,” said Martin, who was a two-time state wrestling champion in Michigan at Livonia Stevenson High, earning a wrestling scholarship to Central Michigan University. “Dexter knows how to motivate people. I’ve learned a lot from him and hope it works just as well for me. We want to keep the wrestling room full.”

Martin and his wife, the former Sarah Vidourek, a 1995 Badin High graduate, live in Hamilton and are the parents of five boys – two students at Badin High and three at St. Joseph Consolidated School in Hamilton.

“Wrestling is a great sport,” said Martin, who has also assisted in the programs at Hamilton and Ross high schools. “It teaches you a lot of things you have to have in life, like discipline and dedication. It teaches you about who you are – what you are willing to do, and what you are capable of doing.

“My biggest focus will be on creating good young student-athletes,” Martin added. “We want them to be as good of people as they are athletes. Hopefully we can have great success in doing that as well as in having wrestling success.”

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