Ferrum College Senior Rayshawn Dixon Places 5th At NCAA National Championships

FERRUM, VA, March 27, 2024 – Ferrum College senior Rayshawn Dixon placed fifth at the NCAA National Championships in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Dixon also became the sixth All-American for Ferrum wrestling at this tournament. It was his second appearance at NCAA nationals.

“It was a lot different this year. I wasn’t as nervous to be on a bigger stage. I had much more excitement,” said Dixon.

In his fifth-place match, Dixon scored a reversal in overtime to beat Dylan Waller of Elizabethtown College, 3-2. He achieved a remarkable 34-2 record this season and crossed the 100-win threshold at the NCAA Tournament. “It felt good to place in the top 5. At first, I was hard on myself because I lost in the semi-final match by one point. After talking with my coaches, I turned it around,” Dixon explained.
Dixon was also proud to achieve All-American status, and it meant a great deal to him. “It’s something that no one can take away from me, and it’s something that’ll be in the Ferrum history books forever. It’ll be cool to see my name on the All-American wall in Hank Norton,” he said.

Head coach Logan Meister ’17 was the first wrestler in the program to earn All-American status in 2016. It was a proud moment for him to see his first athlete as head coach achieve this feat. “It was a meaningful moment. We’ve been working hard to get more guys on the national stage, and it couldn’t have been a better person than Rayshawn. He bought into the coaching and program and put in extra work to succeed. I’m extremely proud of us for getting over the hump and proving to ourselves that we are doing the right things. We have the potential to finish in the top 5 at nationals and even higher, said Meister.

Junior Zach Beckner also competed at NCAA nationals this year. Beckner opened the day with an 8-1 decision over #8 seed Isaias Torres of Ithaca College in the opening round at 133 pounds. He next faced top seed Robbie Precin of North Central in the quarterfinals, where he dropped a 4-2 decision. Beckner then fell 3-1 to Desmond Diggs of the College of Mount St. Joseph in the consolations and was eliminated from the competition. Beckner closed his season at 22-7, finishing one win shy of All-America status. This was his second NCAA appearance, including in 2017, when he was NCAA runner-up at 125 pounds. 

“It was pretty cool to walk back into the same arena seven years later with Zach. We qualified together my senior year while he was a first-year. It was nice for us to be back in that setting. It was a process to recruit Zach and get him back in the mindset of wanting to finish his college degree. He never lost his competitive spirit and still had a desire to return to the mat. We spent so much time talking about mindset, the future, trying to prepare for the moment, and getting him healthy and back into shape. His body has been through a lot; he’s 25 competing with 18-22-year-olds,” Meister explained. 
“This season was a grind mentally, just getting him through some injuries and adversity that he didn’t face the previous time. He’s moved up a weight class from his previous run at nationals, so that was cool to see. After being off for seven years, Zach’s return to his previous level is incredible. I think he was a little disappointed with his results because he wanted to become an All-American again, but we’re so proud of him for even getting back out there to compete. It’s not easy to qualify for that tournament,” Meister continued.

The team is already starting to prepare for next season as much as they can. “Our off-season training started right away. This half of the year is more on the athletes. There are limits to what we can do as a team, according to NCAA rules. However, our team has the right mindset and knows where they want to be next year. They are working on their lifting and conditioning, and some are exploring freestyle and Greco wrestling to gain new experiences. There’s only one way to make improvements, and that’s to get back into practice and keep grinding,” Meister concludes.

Photo Caption: Ferrum College senior Rayshawn Dixon (Top) and junior Zach Beckner (Bottom) compete at NCAA National Wrestling Championships in La Crosse, WI.