Photo by David Dermer courtesy of Kent State University
Just two weeks after winning a league title, Kent State sophomore Ian Miller accomplished another impressive feat by finishing fourth at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships last weekend in Oklahoma City.
Competing at 157 pounds, Miller, an Oak Harbor native, won his first three matches before falling to Minnesota’s Dylan Ness, the eventual second-place finisher, in the semifinals. After moving to the consolation bracket, Miller defeated Iowa’s Derek St. John in convincing fashion, 14-9, before falling to the top seed, James Green of Nebraska.
The highlight came when Miller defeated St. John, who was a national champion last year. The victory made Miller only the second Golden Flashes’ wrestler to finish in the top-four at NCAAs since 1985.
As a team, Kent State finished tied for 29th with 13.5 points. Penn State, where east side Toledo native Shawn Contos works as the team’s strength and conditioning Coach, won its fourth consecutive title under Cael Sanderson. The Nittany Lions finished just ahead of Minnesota (104), followed by Oklahoma State (96.5), Iowa (78.5), Edinboro (62) and Ohio State (57).
While in high school, Miller won a state championship at Oak Harbor at 145 pounds four years ago and finished second (2011) and third (2009), leaving his mark as one of the school’s best wrestlers. Just two weeks ago, Miller won the Mid-American Conference title in rather swift fashion. He defeated Central Michigan’s Luke Smith in the finals, 9-4; Old Dominion’s Tristan Warner, 8-2, in the semifinals; and pinned Buffalo’s Wally Maziarz in 2:09 in the quarterfinals.
For the year, Miller holds an impressive 31-6 record, with four major decisions and 10 pins, the most on the club.