At 6 feet 3, Archbishop Curley's Daniel Miller literally stands head-and-shoulders above most of his 171-pound opponents.
But yesterday, in senior Justin Fitch, a 160-pound regular from visiting 12th-ranked Boys' Latin, the slender senior met a rival who, though shorter, had similar abilities and "was much faster than anyone I've faced."
Still, Miller improved to 5-0 with his third pin of the season 30 seconds into overtime. Miller sparked a 55-21 rout by the 10th-ranked Friars (1-0, 1-0 conference), who avenged two straight dual-meet losses in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference opener for both squads.
"He surprised me [by rising from 160]. I wasn't expecting to wrestle him. I'm used to bigger, slower guys." said Miller, who rallied for a 5-5 tie to send the bout into the extra session after trailing 4-0. "I had to be patient, wear him down. I'd been kind of dominating, so this is the kind of match I needed."
The Friars trailed 15-3 at the time of Miller's victory, which was followed by pins from Sam Burdych (189) and Joe Green (215) for a 21-15 lead. The Lakers (0-1, 5-1) tied the score at 21 on a pin by James Winn (275, 5-0 record), but the Friars closed with a six-bout sweep on pins by Dan Miller (119), Phil Novak (130) and Keith Raynor (135), a major decision by Cameron Jones (112) and forfeits to Tyler Scarinzi (103) and Mitch Fenton.
Early on, an 8-5 decision by Curley's Guy Danna (145) handed Mike Koltz (5-1) his first loss. But it was Daniel Miller who sparked the Friars.
"Daniel was basically the starting point of our rally. We picked it up from there," said Dan Miller, who is not related to Daniel. "After two losses in a row to them, it's a good start to our dual-meet season."
Boys' Latin had led 15-3 on pins from senior Lance Wilson (140) and sophomore Grady Gamble (152), each of whom is 6-0, and a decision by senior Marc DiPasquale (160), who is 3-0. Wilson overcame a 2-0 deficit for a pin at 4:14 over David Miller, against whom he scored 15 of 17 points by near fall. Gamble led before decking former junior league state champ Joe Foster in 5:45.
But after DiPasquale, the Friars continued the momentum gained from last week's runner-up finish to No. 3 South Carroll in the Stephen Decatur Tournament.
Lakers coach Drew Haugh said the referee "made a judgment call" in awarding Daniel Miller a third-period stalling point. "Instead of being up 5-2, Fitch is only up 4-3, and the kid lets him up, takes him down and ties the bout. It doesn't change the final result, but it changed the overall complexion of the match."