Baxter lays it all out on wrestling mat for Pacific University
January 31, 2014
Pacific University wrestler Ryan Baxter of Craig goes for broke on the mat. He’s not a gambler so much as he’s willing to lay it on the line.
The strategy has worked well for the 149-pounder, who carries a 15-6 record this year, his junior season at the NCAA D3 school in Oregon.
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His career record is 45-31.
“Ryan has had a good run at Pacific. He is very knowledgeable and a tough competitor,” head coach Severin Walsh told me. “Ryan is tough in the top position. If he can take you down, you are going to have to work very hard to get away.”
Baxter, of Craig High fame, plays a high-risk, high-reward game in which he opts to take the top position off the referee’s starting position.
Most guys choose the bottom position because it offers more strategic advantages, so when Baxter takes top he really wants to put his opponent on his back.
“There are big rewards if you can ride a guy out,” he told me. “You chalk up points that they can’t really answer.”
Think of having a spider on your back. That’s Baxter.
“I like to leg ride, crab ride,” he said. “I like to work a lot of bar arms. My big money move is leg ride and cross-body ride and transition into a left-side bar arm and from there I can go for a half-[nelson] and go for the pin.”
More than half of his 45 career victories have come by major decision, technical fall or pin.
“Ryan is a technical wrestler,” Walsh said. “He makes a plan of attack and he sticks to it.”
Baxter ran cross country for Pacific his first two seasons on campus. But now he’s focused on just wrestling.
“I’m wrestling better this year because in the offseason I made that commitment,” he said. “It’s not necessarily an in-season sport at this level. College wrestling is more of a year-round deal. Everything pretty much revolves around how you can improve.”