The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 2, 2014

STATE WRESTLING CHAMPION

Billy Miller gets Perry another Division II crown

COLUMBUS — Billy Miller was the first to win a Division II state wrestling title for Perry. He is still the only Pirate to do it, but now he is the lone Pirate with a pair of state championship medals after claiming the heavyweight title at the 77th Ohio State Wrestling Tournament on Saturday at Value City Arena.

He finished his senior season unbeaten at 44-0.

“It means a lot to me,” the son of Bill and Lisa Miller said. “I’ve dreamed of an undefeated season for a while. That puts me at the top with al the state champions who are 2-time champs.”

Miller defeated Logan Sharp of Beloit West Branch, 4-2, for the title.

“First of all, that was a huge kid to wrestle,” Miller said. “I’ve wrestle him and his brother and they’re  all tough kids. In the  first

period, I tried a shrug and tripped. In the second, I got a reversal and waited out the rest of the period, trying to stay safe.

“I wanted to try an outside single to show how dominant a wrestler I am, but I got stuck underneath him. At 270 pounds, that’s a lot of weight on top of me at 250.”

As the seconds were winding down to close the match, Miller knew his career had ended.

“Oh, God, yeah!” I was thinking about the end. “It’s my last match. I got choked up a bit. I was so glad I had a great year and ended up as the Top Gun at the end.”

Miller wasn’t the only one who choked up. Perry coach Dave Rowan did the same in talking about his charge after all was said and done.

“He’s just a class act,” Rowan said. “He deserves everything. He’s definitely going to be missed.

“You can see his growth, not only wrestling-wise, but as a person. He’s turned into a man who has earned our respect. It’s going to be hard to see him go. It really is.”                 

Miller’s career got off to auspicious start, 2 state titles were the furthest thing from his mind.

“As a freshman, I never thought this day would come,” Miller said. “I got pinned in my first 6 matches. When my freshman year was over, I decided I’d be a champion. I worked my butt off every single day and it paid off.”

“It’s funny,” Rowan said. “Coming out of the tunnel, we said we actually removed him from the varsity team to the JV. He was the kind of kid who was going to be successful. He had the desire, the heart and the work ethic.”

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

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