One More Ride

Courtesy: Wartburg Athletic Department
Courtesy: Wartburg Athletic Department

Nine NCAA Division III national titles.

20 consecutive Iowa Conference championships.

164 consecutive Iowa Conference dual wins.

70 Academic All-Americans.

34 Individual national champions.

Nearly 100 former wrestlers are coaching on the high school or college level.

Not too bad for a guy who hails from Waterloo, Iowa.

Jim Miller has had one hell of a ride as the head coach of the Wartburg College Knights wrestling team.  Since his arrival in 1991, Iowa went from a fellow Waterloo native by the name of Dan Gable to Tom Brands.  Iowa State landed a kid from Utah who would do something that Gable nearly did:  end his career undefeated.  That kid goes by the name of Cael Sanderson.

A lot has changed in the sport of wrestling, and in our world in general, but there was one constant:  Miller and Wartburg won.  Not one Iowa Conference team has beaten them since 1994.  I was a senior in high school…at Miller’s alma mater, East Waterloo.  They formed a great rivalry with Augsburg College of Minneapolis.  Together, both schools have combined to win 19 national titles, and the last time a school not named Wartburg or Augsburg won a national title was Ithaca…in 1994.

So how appropriate would it be, in Miller’s final year as the Knights’ head coach, to go on top, one more time?

His squad thinks so.  So does a legion of orange-and-black clad fans who believe that their team is the “finest in the East or West”.

So it is with this in mind that Milboy’s last ride begins Friday in Waverly versus Coe for the IIAC Championship Dual.

This is the last ride for Coach Miller and as hard as it sounds, this is really it.  No do-overs.  The next 40 days or so and a chapter in the glorious history of wrestling in this great state of Iowa will pen its final words.

Take a walk and enjoy this ride one last time.  This one is going to be special.

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