Fletcher Miller had his hand raised in victory in his final match on Saturday in Fargo, N.D. He was one step behind where he wanted to be — scoring a victory in the third-place match instead of the title match — yet close enough to know it’s within reach for the Kokomo High School senior-to-be.
Miller took third place at 220 pounds and All-American honors at the USA Wrestling Junior Freestyle Wrestling meet. It was his first experience at the national event after an injury last season curtailed his summer before he got a chance to see how high he could climb.
“I thought it was pretty cool getting out there and getting to go compete with guys at that level,” Miller said of the Junior Nationals. “It was good to go out there and get really good matches with guys who some of those guys have already signed with colleges.
“I thought I did good. I did pretty well for being my first time out there. I ended up getting that kid who won on his back.
“I was right there. I still have a year to go get it.”
Miller went 7-2 at the national meet where the top eight wrestlers per weight class received All-American honors. He won five matches by technical fall — including his third-place victory over North Carolina’s Kacee Hutchinson. He lost to Ohio’s Parker Knapp, the eventual seventh-place finisher, in the fifth round, then he lost to eventual champion Roy Nash of Utah in the match before the place matches. Miller had Nash on his back before Nash gained the advantage and pinned Miller in the opening period.
“I was very satisfied,” Miller said. “That kid I lost to [Nash], he ended up winning. That was disappointing, but the rest of the matches I felt like I did pretty good in.”