Senior Michael Miller’s boys wrestling career at Central Valley High School was brief but filled with a tremendous amount of success.
The Grace Davis transfer made program history by becoming the first Hawk grappler to win two matches at the CIF State Championships.
“You start the season every year and don’t know who’s going to walk through the door,” head coach Rob Beckhart said. “Michael was given an opportunity to wrestle and went 100 percent. He was on a mission. He was two matches away from placing at state.”
“I felt comfortable wrestling there on the big stage. It made me excited and got my heart pumping. It was an amazing experience."Michael Miller
Miller amassed a 2-2 record on his way to finishing in the top 24 in the 140-pound weight class at the state meet this past week at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. “I felt comfortable wrestling there on the big stage,” he said. “It made me excited and got my heart pumping. It was an amazing experience. I had a lot of fun. The kids that I beat were ranked higher than me.”
Miller collected wins against Chester’s Bonner Montgomery (pin, 1:14) and Kingsburg’s Jett Jackson (pin, 1:39).
He lost to Calvary Chapel’s Luciano Arroyo (major decision, 14-3) and Oakdale’s Rickey Torres (pin, 1:55).
“It’s crazy thinking about how many people wrestle and don’t get to state,” Miller said. “It’s amazing I got there. I had a talk with my dad after my last match. I got emotional. I cried a little bit.”
“I’m proud of Michael,” Beckhart said. “He did great. He wrestled tough.”
Miller compiled a 23-8 overall record during his lone season with the Hawks.
He placed sixth at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships.
He finished second at the Division-III Tournament.
He took first at the Central California Conference finals.
Miller stands alone as Central Valley’s all-time greatest male wrestler because of his success at state.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “I know the school is pretty new. I want other CV wrestlers to beat my records.”
The Hawks have had just four wrestlers qualify for the CIF State Meet: Miller, David Lezama, Luis Saucedo and Adrian Vizcaino.
“If I was to rate them, Michael’s the best,” Beckhart said. “He can attack from any spot on his feet. He’s a technician. I love his aggressiveness and mindset.”
Miller started wrestling in the fifth grade. “You put your body through so much,” he said. “It’s a love-hate relationship.”
Miller has yet to finalize his college plans. He wants to be a high school coach and P.E. teacher in the future.
“I have a couple offers,” Miller said. “I’ll make the right decision. Wrestling is going to be in my life forever. It changed me. It helped keep me out of trouble and taught me discipline.”