by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
COLUMBUS – Ava Miller kept her time in the inaugural girls’ state wrestling championships moving forward with a quarterfinal’s win Saturday.
The junior beat another Ava – Ava Steffel of Tinora – 10-4 to advance to Saturday night’s championship semifinal matches.
“I couldn’t see any shots. I don’t know what was going on,” Miller (39-2) said. “She shot and I would get the takedown and that’s not what I usually do.”
An independent TV production has been filming various wrestlers throughout the meet and followed Miller’s matchup, which added to some pre-match jitters.
“I was kind of nervous before that. They were putting cameras in my face, and it just added more to it,” she said. “But I feel like that’s just an excuse at this point.”
The win over Steffel guarantees Miller a spot on the awards podium, but it doesn’t satisfy her appetite to place as high as she can.
“It’s a safe feeling. I’m safe and at least I know I’m going to place,” Miller said. “I’ve still got a ticket to the finals.”
“Being in the Schottenstein for the first time and not letting the lights and the glitter and the big showcase affect her — she wrestled her match,” Teays Valley coach Todd Nace said. “She just really dominated the match. She got a little high on her legs and we got her out of that mode. She’s listening, she’s focused, she warmed up really well.
“Tonight we’ll be in the semis and we’ll see what we can do. If she wrestles like that, she can beat anybody in the state.”
Miller’s semifinal match is against Sandusky’s Nikera Johnson (33-3). Johnson advanced to the semis with two pins. They’ll square off about 5:40 tonight.