June 2, 2011
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Rising Naval Academy junior Dan Miller (Berlin, Md.) scored back-to-back victories over Virginia's Derek Papagianopoulos to take the 120 kg weight class (freestyle) at the 2011 FILA Junior World Team Trials held in Franklin, Ind. at the end of May. By winning his weight class at the trials, Miller has qualified to represent the United States at the 2011 FILA Junior World Championships slated for July 30-31 in Bucharest, Romania. FILA Juniors are athletes who are 17-20 years old.
Miller, who was wrestling unattached, produced a 3-0, 2-1 victory over Papagianopoulos in the opening round before defeating the Cavalier in round two, 4-3 and 4-0. Papagianopoulos is a rising sophomore and is coming off an impressive rookie campaign which saw him put together a 22-9 record.
"I think it's always an honor to represent the United States at a world championship," said Navy head coach Bruce Burnett. "It's not only a tremendous honor for Danny, but also for the Naval Academy."
Miller qualified to wrestle at the 2011 FILA Junior World Team Trials after placing third at the FILA Junior Nationals held in Cleveland. Ironically, he also defeated Papagianopoulos (3-0, 4-3) to take third place at the Nationals event. Meanwhile, Iowa's Bobby Telford, who defeated Miller in the semifinals and eventually claimed the FILA Junior Nationals title, skipped the FILA Junior World Team Trials to take part in the Junior Freestyle World Cup in Germany where he claimed victories over his Azerbaijan and Japanese opponents and bowed out of his match against Turkey in the U.S.'s fifth-place bout.
Miller follows in a long line of Navy greats who have competed on the international stage, including former teammate Scott Steele who placed third at the Olympic Trials and accompanied the U.S. as the alternate for the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing, China. Steele served as a mentor for Miller during his rookie season before Miller stepped into the lead role at heavyweight for the Mids this past season. Miller owns a 26-17 record over his first two seasons competing for the Midshipmen, including a 19-11 mark this past year. He won the Navy Classic, placed second at the All-Academy Championship and just missed qualifying for the NCAA Championship after placing seventh at the EIWA Championship in a conference which produced the National Champion and the runner-up.
"Dan has made steady progress throughout his career and continues to get better," added Burnett. "This experience will prove to be invaluable. The opportunity to train with other World Team members should enhance the learning curve and help prepare him for next year."
Miller will spend 15 days at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. where the FILA Junior Freestyle World Team Training Camp will be held from July 10-24 before traveling to Romania on July 25.
Competition will be in the eight FILA Junior weights: 50 kg/110 lbs, 55 kg/121 lbs, 60 kg/132 lbs, 66 kg/145.5 lbs, 74 kg/163 lbs, 84 kg/185 lbs, 96 kg/ 211.5 lbs and 120 kg/264.5 lbs.
### Go Navy ###