An Edgewood native and U.S. Naval Academy senior was recognized by the Harford County Council for his fifth-place finish in this year's National Collegiate Athletic Association Wrestling Championship in March. (Bryna Zumer / BSMG)
An Edgewood native and U.S. Naval Academy senior was recognized by the Harford County Council for his fifth-place finish in this year's National Collegiate Athletic Association Wrestling Championship in March.
Mathew Miller, who graduated from The John Carroll School in 2011, got a 4-2 win at the event to capture fifth place, according to Navy Sports.
Miller was recognized by the county for being Harford County's first NCAA wrestling All-American and a three-time NCAA tournaament qualifier.
Council President Dick Slutzky, known as "Coach" for his long history as one of Maryland's most successful high school wrestling and the 1964 NCAA runner-up at 157 pounds, said he was particularly happy to give Miller a proclamation.
"Harford County has had high school wrestling for more than 60 years, and in that time, we have never had a Division I All-American," Slutzky, who wrestled for Syracuse University then coached at Aberdeen High School and later John Carroll, told the audience.
"Mathew was the first, and he also set the record for the most pins in the least amount of time in the national championship and the second most pins in a wrestling competition in the history of wrestling at the Naval Academy," Slutzky said.
Miller is set to graduate this spring with degrees in American politics and law, after which he will be stationed at the Naval Station Norfolk as a surface warfare officer, Councilman Jim McMahan read from the proclamation.
Slutzky said he first met Miller "when he was perhaps 7 or 8 years old, at the oldest, and used to come to a wrestling camp that I ran for years, and I watched him grow in the community and later on at John Carroll, my youngest son, who also wrestled for Syracuse University, spent a lot of time helping Mathew as one of the assistant coaches with Mr. Keith Watson."
Watson, who coached Miller at the Bel Air school, attended the council meeting, as did at least a dozen family, friends and coaches.
Miller seemed surprised to see the outpouring of support, saying: "I honestly didn't invite anyone here except for my roommate."
"All of you coming out means the world to me. Words really can't describe... the love and support of the community that I have," he said, thanking his parents and Naval Academy head wrestling coach Joel Sharratt.
Miller smiled as he remembered his father pushing him through exercises as a child.
"I was doing sit-ups and my dad made me run in the morning, and I was crying during them because he made me start all over, and I guess I wasn't doing them up to his satisfaction," Miller said about one memorable moment.
"At that point, I'm like, you know what, I quit, I'm done with wrestling. And then my dad looks at me and says, 'OK, that's fine, but you're going to finish these push-ups and sit-ups,'" Miller said. "At the time, I guess I didn't really understand what that meant, but it was instilling discipline in me that I take forward in my life every day."
Miller also thanked Watson, his John Carroll coach.