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Local Sports

Farm Strong: Baxter coach opens property to former athletes

Former Baxter standout quarterback Braydon Aker, left, plays catch with Treyton Travis during a football workout earlier this spring. Aker, who will play for Wartburg College this fall, is preparing Travis for his first high school football season at Baxter High School.
Former Baxter standout quarterback Braydon Aker, left, plays catch with Treyton Travis during a football workout earlier this spring. Aker, who will play for Wartburg College this fall, is preparing Travis for his first high school football season at Baxter High School.

Ryan Travis is an assistant football and boys’ basketball coach at Baxter.

When he moved into his house in the country near Collins 10 years ago, the situation was perfect for the Collins-Maxwell/Baxter athletic community.

Travis has enough land around his house to do football workouts and the property features a basketball hoop and ball return as well as a 600 square foot exercise gym that was built inside of a Morton building eight years ago.

Travis has welcomed former athletes of CMB and now Baxter to use the facility when they are back in town.

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed things down for now, but former Baxter standout quarterback Braydon Aker still uses the facility daily as he prepares for the rest of his collegiate career at Wartburg College.

“Braydon comes here almost every day even though we are quarantined,” Travis said. “It’s a trade off. I let him use the facility right now and he works with my son a few days a week on quarterback drills.”

Treyton Travis will be a ninth grader at Baxter when school does resume. He hopefully will start his journey as a quarterback for the Bolts in the fall.

“I worked with Treyton last summer before going back for my last season at Iowa Western,” Aker said. “It was just a few times but since I’ve been back we’ve worked together more often. I’ve always liked helping out the kids younger than me.

“I do plan on being a coach someday or something related to athletics. I just look at this as practice and try and come up with the best plan I can for helping Treyton develop as a quarterback.”

Cainan Travis is a receiver. He’s going to be an eighth grader and runs routes for both quarterbacks.

“It’s just a place for former athletes and current athletes to come workout if they want to,” Ryan Travis said.

“We are shut down besides Braydon and my two sons right now, but we had a bunch of former athletes using it before the coronavirus hit.”

Those former athletes include Archer McFadden, Blake Coughenour, Jason Hillgren, Patrick Girard, Tucker Maxwell and Will Clapper.

“At the beginning of the year,(Braydon) and I trained four days a week at 4:30 a.m.,” McFadden said.

“It’s nice to have a place close to home and not having to pay a fee. He’s got a lot of great equipment that would be hard to get at home.”

The grass field space Aker and the Travis brothers use is striped out like a football field.

“It was awesome having a place to go train all through the winter and early spring,” Aker said. “And then when this whole pandemic thing started he let me keep lifting there. Which was awesome since all the commercial gyms were closed.”

The weight room is old school with pictures of former bodybuilders Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler plastered on the walls. The room has music, a TV and a heating and cooling system, making it perfect for any season.

“It was the perfect location when we got to the community because of CMB,” Travis said. “My wife Anna teaches at Baxter. That’s what brought us here.”

The gym includes dumbbells of 150 pounds and lower, a squat cage, a hack squat machine, a leg press machine, a pec deck fly machine, cables and a bench press and incline bench press. Travis said Coughenour also added a punching bag to the room.

“I started using the shed some time in late January. It was right after I decided to not go back to Iowa Western for the spring,” Aker said.

“I didn’t really want to lift at the school. It just felt weird. I knew Coach Travis had a gym out at his place so I just hit him up and asked if I could lift there.”

McFadden can’t really use the facility he calls “The Shed” right now anyway because of work priorities. But when he is back in town or working in Des Moines, he uses it frequently. He loves getting his workout done early in the morning.

“I will go as much as possible and when I’m back working in Des Moines, I’ll get back to training four days a week in the morning,” McFadden said. “I currently train for powerlifting. (Braydon and I) get a lot done and we feel like training in the morning not only makes for a better workout but improves our lives all around.”

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