Roanoke College Pins Panthers at Home


Photo by Cody Gibson

Elijah Martin 2-1 wins the 165lb match.

Roanoke College secured at least a tie for first place in the ODAC with its win over the Panthers on Feb. 2, as the Panthers hosted Roanoke College.

The Panthers only won three matches that night, with Braden Homsey, senior; Elijah Martin, senior; and Rayshwan Dixon, junior; being the three. The final score was 31-14.

Elijah Martin started off the wins with a 2-1 decision in the 165 pound class. Martin said he was calm and mentally prepared to go into the competition.

“Personally, I don’t have a game plan. I just let muscle memory take over, and it usually works out pretty well for me. This is actually one of the matches I stayed surprisingly calm before… So I definitely think it helped me win that mental game we were talking about beforehand,” Martin commented.

In the 197 pound match, Braden Homsey, senior, picked up another win for the Panthers by tallying 16 points during the second period. Homsey’s win filled the room with cheers from his teammates and friends.

“You can feel it, the energy when you’re coming off of someone else’s win. It’s kind of like what I told Ray (Dixon) before his match, ‘I set you up,'” Homsey stated.

After winning his second-to-last home meet as a Panther, Homsey encouraged Dixon, junior, to win the 285 pound match. Dixon was also a crowd favorite, especially after lifting his opponent from the ground.

“My coaches were just believing in me and helping me believe in myself. My training partner as well, we talked a lot, and we practiced, saying this is what you can do to get better,” Dixon commented after the win.

With this victory from Dixon, his record for the season is now 25-1.

In the post-game presser, the three replayed the night’s events.

Martin said he was actually surprised at how calm he was before his match.

“Normally, my heart rate will get up. I get nervous, and start to think about what I’m going to do during the match,” Martin said.

Dixon said his thought process before his matches is execution.

“My coaches help me a lot because earlier in the season, I was having success but wasn’t wrestling to the best of my ability. Along with my training partner, it helps me a lot and helps me focus for the matches,” Dixon said.

Teams have goals and for wrestling, but so do individuals. Homsey said he has his own goal that he wants to reach.

“One thing I’ve been trying really hard on is reaching my potential like my maxim in all areas–top position, bottom position, and neutral. (I try to have) a positive mindset of ‘no one in the country can beat me,’ he said.

Self-command and being calm sometimes can be a big factor for athletes.

“One thing I’ve been working on is composure–mentally, physically, and emotionally, keeping it all together to not show any weakness to my opponent,” Martin said.

The Panthers men’s wrestling team’s next upcoming match will be held tomorrow, Feb. 11, at the ODAC Tournament. The event will take place in Winchester, VA, hosted by Shenandoah University.