Broadneck's Shawn Miller accomplished almost everything he wanted toon the wrestling mat this year.
Not only did the wiry, 119-pound Bruins grappler win the Class 4A-3A state title after being top-ranked all year by the Maryland State Wrestling Association, but he also became his school's winningest wrestler, with 101 career victories against five losses.
His state title-winning effort -- a 5-2 win over Wheaton's Steve Barwick -- capped the only unbeaten season by a county wrestler. Miller's 35-0 record included a win over Calvert Hall's Maryland Scholastic Association champion Brendan James, whom he defeated in overtime of their title bout of the Annapolis tournament. He also beat a state champion from Virginia.
Miller, the Anne Arundel County Sun's 1991-1992 Wrestler of the Year, has gotten everything he's wanted out of this season -- except a rematch with Paint Branch's two-time state champion Craig Middledorf.
As a junior, Miller had 26 pins, including 15 in the first period. He was unbeaten at 34-0 when he lost, 6-5, to Middledorf in their state championship bout. He held a 3-0 lead over Middledorf -- whom he had beaten, 7-3, in the earlier Annapolis tournament -- before losing.
"I wanted to wrestle Middledorf more than anything," said Miller, who is considering Pennsylvania universities such as Loch Haven, Edinborough or Lycoming College.
But the rematch never occurred. Middledorf moved up to the 125-pound weight class this year. The Paint Branch wrestler finished 33-1, but failed to win a third title.
"I was kind of disappointed, but I was also a little nervous because I wanted to go undefeated so badly," said Miller, who this year captured his third straight county tournament title and his second consecutive Region IV crown. "But that loss to him helped me this year. It made me work a lot harder than ever before."
Even before the season started, Broadneck athletic director Kevin McMullen said of Miller, "You can bet the ranch on that kid." Coach JohnMayberry has often said, "He's so totally focused."
And Miller, who placed third in the state tournament as a sophomore, registered 18pins and one technical-fall victory this year. Opponents scored two points or more only twice.
"I was most proud of being more offensive this year. And I was a lot better on my feet against guys," said Miller. "My next goal is to go to the nationals on April 4th and 5th. I want to be an All-American."