By Scott Padula
Throughout the year, Austin Miller ’15 has proven he is and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with on the wrestling team. In his first year of collegiate competition, Miller captured a team-best 22 victories, placed third at the EIWA Championships and became the first rookie wrestler for the Orange and Blue to qualify for NCAA Championships since 2009. On the year, Miller posted a record of 22-14 and separated himself as a top-of-the-line competitor for the Bison.
“Wrestling is a unique sport where there are numerous different aspects: mental, physical and emotional. Austin has done a tremendous job in figuring these areas of the sport out, and is an extremely confident individual. He has a bright future here at Bucknell, and will accomplish his goals of becoming an All-American and NCAA champion if he continues to build on the successes and failures he has had this past year,” team co-captain Joe McMullan ’13 said.
Time and time again, Miller proved to be a tremendous competitor, elevating his game to unparalleled levels when it mattered most. Notably, Miller won a pivotal match against ranked opponent Garrett Frey of Princeton by a score of 10-9. Miller’s win marked his first win over a ranked opponent and jump-started a 27-9 Bison victory.
Later in the season, Miller went 3-1 versus four seeded opponents at the EIWA Championships. His only loss came in the semifinal round at the hands of Frank Perrelli of Cornell, the eventual EIWA champion of the 125-pound weight class.
One way in which Miller was able to achieve his tremendous success was through an unwavering determination to improve and develop into a more balanced wrestler. Every day, Miller entered the wrestling room with a commitment that was second to none.
“I put in a lot of extra hours in the wrestling room individually to prepare for competition just as most people put in many extra hours studying for a big test. In the end it was just the belief in what my coaches were telling me to do and the belief in myself to improve and get better every day,” Miller said.
Still, Miller attributes a large portion of the success he has experienced this season to the faith he put in his coaches. Through their tutelage, Miller was able to make a smooth transition from high school to collegiate wrestling and has improved his technique significantly since stepping on campus.
“I think most of my success was due to the transition that I made. I was able to make this transition by working a lot individually with my coaches. I tried my best to listen to everything they said and improve upon my lesser strengths which they pointed out. One thing my coach always says is to be a ‘student of the sport’ and I really did my best to accomplish that,” Miller said.
Although Miller achieved phenomenal success that any collegiate wrestler would be proud of, Miller is not satisfied. He claims that he has not reached his full potential in his young collegiate wrestling career. Miller’s unrelenting attitude matches that of a champion and his drive certainly serves as a primary reason why Miller was so successful in his first season.
If Miller continues to approach the sport with his unwavering confidence and strong work ethic, it is likely that he will add to his already impressive list of accomplishments. Already eyeing next season, the Orange and Blue faithful should expect nothing less than great things from Austin Miller as he looks to improve on a fantastic rookie season.
” I am very proud of Austin and all that he has accomplished during his freshman campaign,” said head coach Dan Wirnsberger. “His best wrestling is ahead of him because of his commitment and dedication for the sport he loves. Austin is well deserving of this honor.”