Miller reaches NAIA title match, earns All-American wrestling honors

March 19, 2014

Jared Miller WrestlingHe wasn’t seeded and he was in the toughest weight class at the NAIA national tournament, yet Jared Miller of Kotzebue wasn’t fazed.

The junior 174-pounder at the Montana State Univeristy-Northern made a remarkable run all the way to the finals, falling 3-2 to three-time national champion Brock Gutches of Southern Oregon.

Miller, of Kotzebue High fame, earned his first All-American honor in his third career appearance at the national meet. He finished the season 35-11.

He redshirted last year and came back to finish third in the West Region. At the national meet, he won his first three matches, including a win over a region rival, to reach the title match.

There he faced Gutches, a heavy favorite who was gunning to become the first three-time 174-pound champ in NAIA history. Gutches won the match by the slimmest of margins, 3-2, with 29 seconds of riding time making the difference.

“I had a chance to take [Miller] down in the first round and kind of messed up, but he wrestled well and we both stayed on our feet the entire time after that,” Gutches told his school’s website.

Miller gave the champ a serious scare and almost made history of his own.

“I’m so very proud of Jared,” MSUN coach Tyson Thivierge told the Havre Daily News. “He wrestled his heart out. He gave it everything he had and that’s all you can ask for. It’s very tough to get that close and not win, but again, that’s wrestling, that’s the way it goes sometimes. But he wrestled extremely well and led it all out there.”

Miller has a career record of 79-48 with one more year of eligibility.