Championship Ambitions On and Off the Mat

Rayshawn Dixon Seeks National Title
Rayshawn Dixons hand is raised after a another victorious match.
Rayshawn Dixon’s hand is raised after a another victorious match.
Courtesy of Codyagnellvisuals
Rayshawn Dixon dominates another opponent on his quest for a national title.

Heavyweight wrestler Rayshawn Dixon, a senior wrestler and HHP major, hails from Fayetteville, NC and strives to be a champion both on the mat and in life.

Dixon came here hungry to make a difference and leave his mark, and after being told he could make history for Ferrum athletics,  he decided to jump into the deep end and become a Panther.

“What made me choose Ferrum was the opportunities during the recruiting process,” Dixon comments. “I asked the head coach at the time if there had ever been a national champion for the wrestling program, and he said not only had there not been one for the wrestling program, but in school history, so that was very intriguing.”

Dixon decided to take it head on as a challenge to become something this school has never had–a national champion. It is a goal that he strives toward every day. Dixon wants to always be climbing the ladder to success and cement himself as one of the greats, ambitiously moving forward and drawing the best out of himself. That’s the objective he has for himself.

“My goal has honestly been just to get better every year, but the main goal has always been to win a national championship,” he remarks.

Dixon’s coaches recognize his fight and appreciate the fire that seems to burn in his heart as he works to battle his way to the top and doesn’t hold himself back.

“We’re not supposed to have favorites, so I won’t say he’s my favorite, but he’s been a pleasure to coach.  (He) does all the right things. He has high goals, and you can tell, his actions match the goals,” praises Logan Meister, the head coach for the wrestling program.

Dixon’s fight isn’t just a story of success, he’s faced hardship head-on and felt the sting of defeat. That sting didn’t cause his ambition to falter, however, the heavyweight stayed on his feet and kept on the path toward greatness.

“We tell him what needs to be done, and he follows through, and he’s consistent with it,” Meister says. “I don’t think anything has knocked him off his path.”

He said a clear sign of this was at nationals last year.

“We had a heartbreak situation where he lost a one-point match, almost got a takedown at the end and lost the challenge. (The) refs actually told him he won, raised his hand, (and then) they took it away. That was a heartbreaking moment, and he handled it like a champ,” says Meister. “We sulked for a little bit, then two days later, we’re back in the office watching film, and that’s when training for this season began.”

With that on his mind, Dixon looked at this season and decided to try and shake up the world of wrestling and show everyone that he could achieve what he’s been yearning for since the beginning.

That yearning has blossomed into a success with Dixon toppling the number one ranked wrestler in the nation for DIII earlier this year at the Pete Wilson tournament.

Standing at a perfect 28-0 and ranked #3 in the nation, his coaches believe it’s no mistake that he is tearing his way up the totem pole.

“The goal is national champ–not gonna shy away from it. Sometimes it sounds crazy, but that’s the goal, and that’s what we’re hunting down, and that’s why he’s having the level of success he has–because he is working to be a national champ, and those kinds of things don’t happen by accident,” emphasizes Meister.

This season has also seen Dixon step into a leadership role and start acting as a voice for the entire team to follow, helping his team not only by dominating those who dare to step out on the mat with him, but leading his fellow wrestlers down the right path to achieve victory.

“He’s a different beast–he’s always doing the right thing. He’s a good person for the young guys to look up to and follow in his foot steps, and now as a coach, I can still see he’s doing the right thing, and hard work is paying off,” explains Levi Englman, assistant coach and former teammate of Dixon’s.

Dixon’s commitment to leading the lifestyle of a champion isn’t something he just applies to wrestling. It’s a strategy that he believes is helpful in all aspects of life.

“Doing the right things, the little things count the most. It’s not always going hard in the wrestling room but outside of it as well, eating right, living right and sleeping well,” mentions Dixon.

Dixon is a team player outside of the room as well always looking to grow closer with his fellow wrestlers and simply enjoying life to its fullest while making sure to also be himself.

“I just relax, lay back, and watch TV, play with my dog and just hanging around with the guys on the team and build bonds with them,” states Dixon.

Dixon says he tires to live life just like anyone else outside of the wrestling world, spreading positive vibes and exuding an enjoyable presence for everyone around him when he’s out and about.

“He’s a pleasure to be around. He’s always got a great attitude no matter what’s going on in his life. (He) likes to have fun outside the room no matter what we’re doing, (and) he’s always just hanging out having a good time,” remarks Meister.

Dixon wants to continue his journey after Ferrum, becoming a coach and spreading his knowledge down to future generations the same way others have done for him on his way up to becoming the wrestler and overall person he is today.

“I want to give back and coach, help people like myself who want to get better at the sport reach their goals as well,” says Dixon. “As far as life, I just wanna look back when its almost all said and done and say I lived a good life, I was a good man, I’ve looked up to some of my teammate’s who went to wrestle in college before me, and always looking to the coaches because they’ve done it before and are on the same path,” Dixon concludes.

Dixon says he wants to live life like the champion he yearns to be. He wants every aspect of what he does to be driven by a fierce willpower and fiery ambition to become the best he can.

Dixon will wrestle next on March 1 at the Regional Tournament in Williamsport, PA.

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