Miller takes state championship
From the beginning of the season, Douglas wrestling coach Lamont McCann said Shane Miller had more than a realistic shot at winning the school’s first state title in 12 years (Douglas’ last champ was Sean Buscay, who went 33-6 in 1994 and took the 119-pound title).
And Miller didn’t disappoint in the slightest, rolling through his senior season in dominant fashion.
Aside from a slight stumble late in the championship match of the Alhambra, Calif., tournament, Miller was absolutely flawless.
He completed his high school career Saturday in Las Vegas, pinning Las Vegas’ Zack Williams in the finals of the 189-pound bracket to improve to 50-1 on the year and remain spotless on Nevada soil.
“It’s a great feeling, bringing home a state champion,” McCann said. “Shane pretty much handled all of his opponents this weekend. No one really came close. He just had a great year.
“We were so proud to have him on our team this year. It was a pleasure coaching him. He got the outstanding sportsmanship award at regionals, which just shows what kind of character he really has.”
It’s something Miller strove for all year.
“This is the point (of the season),” Miller told the Nevada Appeal. “I wanted my name on the wall at school. That would be pretty cool, too.”
McCann said Miller has drawn some interest from Cal State Bakersfield, in terms of wrestling on the collegiate level, but he’s sure several more schools will pop onto the radar when word of the state championship gets around.
“He’s kind of a diamond in the rough out here,” McCann said. “There are a lot of schools that simply don’t know he is out here yet. I think a lot of colleges like to see one-sport athletes in wrestling. They’ll look at that in Shane.
“Whoever gets him will be getting a steal. He’s looking at his options now, looking around to see what is available.”
As a team, Douglas took seventh and 145-pounder Jake Williams and 152-pounder Ryan Pruitt, both juniors, each took third-place medals.
Pruitt defeated Northern 4A champ Joey Milegich of Galena 4-2 in the consolation bracket and topped Mojave’s Billy Stutzman 12-8 in the consolation finals.
Williams beat Northern 4A champ Tanner Jones of Fallon in the consolation bracket as well.
Douglas also had seniors Matt Castro, Cameron Ames and Bryan Kaplan and sophomore Garrett Hekhuis qualify for the state tournament.
“The seniors all had a great season, it was an awesome year,” McCann said. “Next year we will have high expectations again. I’m looking forward to seeing how the program develops.”
Douglas claimed its first Sierra League title this year and followed that by taking second place in the Northern 4A championships.
The Tigers return all but four of their varsity starters next season.
“We’re going to head off to some big camps and tournaments this summer and get a lot of work in at the gym,” McCann said. “We’re very happy that the community supported us the way they did this year. Hopefully we’ll come back next year and improve upon what we’ve established this season.”
n Joey Crandall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.