March 15, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Navy senior wrestler Dan Miller (Berlin, Md.) has been named the NAAA Athlete of the Week Presented by Rolls-Royce after winning the heavyweight title at the 109th EIWA Championship held at The RAC in Piscataway, N.J. last weekend.
Miller entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed and had to fight his way through both the No. 1 and 2 seeds en route to claiming his first EIWA crown. After receiving a first-round bye, Miller battled fifth-seeded Joe Stolfi of Bucknell in the quarters and advanced via a 10-5 victory. Miller met top-seeded and 17th-ranked Billy Smith of Rutgers in the semis hoping to avenge an earlier regular-season loss to Smith in Annapolis. Smith bested Miller, 8-5, on Jan. 26, however Miller turned the tables on Smith and punched his way into the finals by way of a 3-1 victory.
Miller’s championship competitor, second-seeded Blake Herrin of American, also defeated the Navy senior during the regular season, taking a tight 3-2 decision on Feb. 9 in Annapolis.
The two were scoreless after the first period of last Saturday’s championship bout, but Herrin was able to score the first point with an escape to open the second period. Miller went on to tie the match with an escape in the third and with 25 seconds remaining he had Herrin balancing on one leg, but was unable to complete the sweep and the match went into sudden victory. Miller again got a shot in on Herrin, but Herrin was able to use his arm strength to fend off Miller sending the match into a tie breaker.
Herrin chose the down position in the first 30-second period where Miller was able to ride him out. In a surprising move, Herrin chose to automatically allow Miller up, giving him what would be the go-ahead points as Herrin was unable to score a takedown in the final 30 seconds of the bout and Miller won the match 2-1 (TB).
Miller is Navy’s first EIWA individual champion since 2009 when both Joe Baker (133) and Bryce Saddoris (149) took home titles. Meanwhile Miller is Navy’s first heavyweight to win a title since Ed Prendergast won back-to-back crowns in 2007 and ‘08.
Miller’s victory also sealed second place in the team standings for the Midshipmen, who bested third-place Penn by seven points. It was Navy’s highest finish since 2007 when Matt Stolpinski (174) and Ed Prendergast (HWT) won titles to lead the Mids to a second-place finish.
With six of Navy’s 10 wrestlers garnering top-five finishes at the EIWA Championship, Miller, Raymond Borja (Virginia Beach, Va.) at 149 pounds, Bobby Barnhisel (River Forest, Ill.) at 157 pounds, Peyton Walsh (Glen Allen, Va.) at 165 pounds, Mathew Miller (Edgewood, Md.) at 174 pounds and Mason Bailey (Fairmont, W.Va.) at 184 pounds earned automatic berths to compete at the 2013 NCAA Championship slated for March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.
### Go Navy ###