Hood River Valley High School graduate and Umpqua Community College freshman Grace Miller won the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Northwest Conference Championship in the 143-pound division earlier this month in Aberdeen, Wash.
Added to her award, Miller, who finished her first season with a 22-10 record, earned a medal and received a watch for her athletic achievements.
“It felt amazing. Being national champion was something I’ve always wanted to do,” Miller said. “My coaches we’re super proud of me. They believed in me so much that I could win. Having them be there for me was amazing.”
In her last match, the freshman defeated Melissa Crane, from the University of Washington, by first-round pin and said that she did not anticipate such a fast bout.
“I’ve never wrestled a girl before and didn’t know what she was going to bring to the match,” Miller said. “She seemed very aggressive and trying to drop me down, but I just had to stay calm and wrestle the style I wrestle as. She shot inside for a single leg, I put her a whizzer and dropped her down to the mat. Then I sprawled, got be hinder her, put her in an arm bar and pinned her.”
Miller said her family has been supportive, especially her father, Lynn Miller, an HRV assistant wrestling coach.
“It’s the furthest the furthest that anybody in my family has placed so it feels really amazing,” Grace said. All of my family has been supporting me. My dad’s super proud of me and that feeling is amazing, to have my family be so proud.”
Winning the title has also inspired her 7-year-old stepbrother, she said. She described him as admiring her trophies at home and has asked if he’ll have room for his trophies.
As she inspired her stepbrother, Grace Miller said she also hopes to inspire high school wrestlers.
“Hood River Valley was a great experience,” Grace Miller said. “We have a lot of girl wrestlers who have placed really well at state and have All-Americans in college. So, to be one of those different All-Americans and champions feels like a legacy going on for Hood River Valley High School.”