SUGARCREEK (WJER) (March 18, 2022) – Garaway’s Kyle Miller last weekend concluded the best season of any wrestler in school history. The 113-pound senior earned second at the Division III State Wrestling Tournament.
Coach Greg Miller says that’s the highest a Pirate has ever placed.
“He was only the second kid in school history to make it to the semifinals,” Coach Miller said. “We had a kid, a heavyweight, Ben Sexton, who finished fourth, but he made it to the championship semifinals, so Kyle is the highest state placer now at the school.
“We’re really proud of him. He deserved it and we’re excited for him and excited for Garaway wrestling.
Kyle is now a two-time state qualifier, but the last time he qualified was his freshman year. Injuries contributed to the two-year absence, and Kyle says those issues cropped up again this season.
“It was literally like the third meet of the year. It was at home in the first six seconds of the match. My knee popped and gave out,” Kyle said. “It happened my sophomore year, too, and I was like, ‘This is not going to be the end my season. I’m going to have to come back and come back stronger.’”
Kyle adjusted his style and got in even better shape.
“My injuries really set me back, but at the same time I think it helped me a little bit because it made me work harder to make sure that I could beat people different ways because I wasn’t going to be as fast on my feet,” he said.
The extra work paid off at the state tournament as Kyle opened with a 10-3 decision win, outscoring his opponent 8-1 over the last two periods.
“I was pushing the pace really hard, and he kind of got gassed,” Kyle said. “That’s really how I beat him: my conditioning was better than his.”
His coach says Kyle wasn’t even favored to win that first match.
“He wrestled his butt off,” Coach Miller said. “He beat a really good kid in the first round who was ranked sixth in the state. The next match he beat a district champ. He was just wrestling really well.”
Injuries came up again in the state semifinal round.
“The kid picked him up and slammed him right down on his shoulder and dislocated it,” Coach Miller said.
It was an illegal slam, and Kyle could not continue, so he advanced to the championship final. His shoulder wasn’t 100 percent, but he gutted it out.
“I didn’t want to go out there and forfeit,” Kyle said. “Yeah, it didn’t go my way for sure, and it wasn’t very pretty, but I wanted to go out and at least wrestle a finals match.”
Kyle was pinned by the defending state champ in the final, but he made Garaway school history and completed his comeback story.
“A big thing in wrestling is injuries and how you come back from them,” Kyle said. “The biggest thing is just staying positive. If you get negative or down on yourself, it’s never going to come out good. If you stay positive and want to push through it and get stronger and get better, it helps a lot.”