GB's Loder still the man on the mat

Last year's Grizzly star still winning at Northern Iowa
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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A year ago, Ryan Loder was one of the headliners at the CIF State Wrestling Championships. Now, the former Granite Bay grappler is carrying his success to a whole new level.


One of the favorites in the 189-pound weight class in Bakersfield a year ago, Loder contracted a serious skin condition that caused him to gut out a rough two days in pain, while still finding a way to finish fifth. With all of his lofty accomplishments in a four-year high school wrestling career, it is those two days in March that his high school coach remembers the most.


“The ordeal he endured with his arm his senior year at the CIF State Meet, alone, was enough to prepare him to compete well in college,” said Granite Bay coach Mike Lynch. “He was fantastic in dealing with that adversity.”


He competed with a huge abrasion at the crook of the elbow on his right arm that brought pain each time it was touched. With limited ability to bend his arm due to significant swelling, he obtained the necessary medical clearance to wrestle and gutted out nine tough matches. 


“There is no quit in this guy” Lynch said at the time. “Ninety-nine out of 100 people would not even have made the trip to Bakersfield, but he was there and he conducted himself with honor.”


Now, Loder is a freshman again, red-shirting at Northern Iowa. Unlike most college sports, where a red-shirt means you cannot compete, college wrestlers are able to enter open tournament and wrestle unattached.


“I am really lucky to be in Iowa for wrestling because there are so many open tournaments, and they are stack full of good wrestlers,” Loder said.


The Granite Bay alum compiled a 34-5 record in open wrestling competition, as he prepares for a strong college career at one of the nation’s elite wrestling schools.

In addition to the competing, Loder has found his time in Iowa to be a rewarding experience.

”College is great,” Loder said. “I have met a ton of new people and with new ideas, and different ways of thinking about life. It has really opened up my mind and unleashed many different ways of thinking. What I enjoyed the most so far is just hanging out with the team. These guys come from all over the USA with totally different backgrounds and they all fit together.”


Of course, the winter weather in the Midwest has been a new experience.


“It gets really windy up here especially next to the dorms I live in,” Loder said. “It is about two degrees below zero outside, and the wind blowing in your face makes it 20 below. It’s freezing.”


Otherwise, he has found that his preparation for college was first rate.


“Nothing really surprised me about college,” Loder said. “I knew that school was going to be hard and wrestling was going to be way different than high school. I was really prepared for it. Granite Bay is a great school for learning and teaching the tools that I needed to be a good student.”


Lynch agrees that Loder is well positioned for success at the next level, and he is not surprised that he is already experiencing great results on the mat.


He was so well prepared to go on to wrestle in college,” Lynch said. “I think that he will challenge to be a national champion in the time he is at Northern Iowa.  He is just a strong competitor and truly an outstanding person.  Don't be surprised to see him in the NCAA finals one day.”



Ryan Loder

Granite Bay High 2009 graduate

Red-shirt freshman wrestler, 184 pounds

University of Northern Iowa

Top high school memories: “Making it to state as a sophomore and almost placing, winning the section title for football, winning Masters my junior and senior year by tech fall. I will never forget senior year at state.”
College wrestling goals: “Next year I want to start at 184s and at least place at the NCAAs if not win it.”

Advice to high school students: “Make sure whatever you are doing, you are having fun doing it. When you have fun working, it turns into play, and everyone likes to play.”