Broadneck's Shawn Miller returned from last weekend's trip to Duquesne (Pa.) University looking and feeling as if he had been mugged.
"I'm so beat up. I've got two black eyes and I hurt all over," said Miller late Sunday night, after capturing fourth place at 112 pounds in the third annual National High School Wrestling Championships.
The two-day tournament featured over 300 past and present state champions from across the nation. Miller, who won this year's 119-pound Class 4A-3A state title, and Old Mill's 160-pound Brian Layman, whoplaced fifth nationally, were the highest-placed winners out of 11 Maryland competitors.
Severna Park's state champion Aaron Cree (171) lost his first two bouts, the second, 2-1, in overtime, to Oklahoma's Dustin Krieger.
Layman and Miller, each a three-time county champion, were honored as All-Americans for finishing among the top eight of their respective weight classes.
Miller's finish is the highest any countian has placed in the event.
"College recruiters are saying that Miller's stock improved six-fold," said Cornell Bass, the Maryland State Wrestling Association's liaison to college wrestling programs. "There are a lot of programs looking for 118-pounders, particularly Millersville University and Virginia Tech. I think we can find him a spot in a respectable wrestling program next year."
Layman, meanwhile, will join his brother at the University of Maryland.
"The competition was brutal, but Brian was in every match," said Old Mill coach Mike Hampe, who led the Patriots to an unprecedented fourth Class 4A-3A state title. "He didn't have to worry about the team, like he did as a team captain, so he was extremely focused for this one."
Each grappler had to fight off his share of attackers, and as evidenced by the results, each put up a good battle.
Miller (35-0 during this year's regular season) got off to a sluggish start, edging Kansas' three-time state champion Scott Goodsdale, 10-8, in overtime. He then crushed South Dakota's state champion, 13-3, before nipping Colorado's three-time state champion, Joe Diaz, 6-4.
That set upMiller's semifinal battle with Oklahoma's two-time state champion Brian Brown, who took just two minutes, 40 seconds to pin Miller for only the second time in Miller's high school career.
"It was 0-0 in the second period. I deferred to him, and he chose the bottom position," said Miller of Brown, who won the weight class by pinning California's state champion Tony DeSouza in the title bout.
"He reversed me real quick, I made a mistake and he pinned me with the spladel. IfI had known how good he was with that move, I might have chosen the top (position) first."
Miller came out on top, 4-3, in his rematchwith Goodsdale, using an escape in the final seven seconds to avoid overtime. Miller missed placing third by the slimmest of margins, losing, 5-4, to Delaware's two-time state champion Anthony Florentino.
Layman won his first two matches by a combined 10-6 over state champions from Oklahoma and Wisconsin before decking Kentucky's state champ Eric Dingus in just 52 seconds of the first period.
He then dropped a 5-4 semifinal decision to Ohio's John Gibeaut, the eventual national champion, and dropped his next bout on overtime criteria to Jason Kraft, a two-time New York state champion.
For fifth place, Layman overcame a 4-1 deficit by tossing Kansas' Marcus Mainz for a five-point throw. He held on to win, 6-5.