Baxter places 2nd at D3 Champs [Wrestling]

March 11, 2012

Dustin Baxter

Fabulous Fairbanks wrestler Dustin Baxter wrapped up his college career in impressive fashion.

He didn’t win a national title like he wanted, but the Saint John’s University senior came real close and earned All-American honors for the third time in four trips to the NCAA D3 Championships.

Baxter, of West Valley fame, lost 7-2 in the 197-pound national championship match in La Crosse, Wis to undefeated defending champion Byron Tate of Wartburg. It was only the third time Baxter had lost all season. He finished 30-3.

The Alaska wrestler went through hell to reach the finals, needing 3 OTs to win his semifinal match and 4 OTs to win the match before that.

First, Baxter defeated Concordia-Moorhead’s Nathan Schmitz 5-4 in a marathon match that seemingly would not end. Finally, in the fourth overtime, Baxter prevailed on riding time to hand Schmitz his first loss in 32 matches.

Then in the semifinals, Baxter knocked off another undefeated opponent with a 4-2 upset over No. 2 seed Jared Myhrberg of Cortland State. Tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, Myhrberg took a 2-1 lead with an escape in the second overtime, but Baxter tallied a takedown soon after and then an escape to earn the win and a trip to the title match.