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WHO’S NEXT? USAW STAR OF THE FUTURE Miracle makes her mark

Standout wrestler from Indiana succeeding while competing against girls and boys

By Jackie Branca There are many parents, especially fathers that might not want their daughter to become a wrestler. Lee Miracle is no different. So when his daughter wanted to wrestle at four years old, he tried to get her to quit before she even got started.

But when Kayla wanted so desperately to quit high school wrestling this past season, it was her father who urged her to keep with the sport. “I learned a lot this year. Especially with having to drop weight, I wanted to quit so many times,” Kayla said. “But my dad told me I would regret the decision and after states I real- ized it was all worth it. All the pain, the extra practices and struggles, it all paid off.”

Kayla Miracle has blossomed into one of the top wrestlers in

the state of Indiana, boy or girl. Miracle recently became the first girl in Indiana history to wrestle in the Indiana State High School Championships. She lost the first round at 106 lbs. and finished her sophomore year 42-6 at Culver Academy in Culver, Ind. In the Miracle family, wrestling is what they do. Growing up,

Kayla’s father coached different club teams that her brother wrestled on. Her dad is currently the All Navy Wrestling Team Head Coach, coaching both freestyle and Greco-Roman. Kayla decided she wanted to try wrestling because she was around it so much. She had had enough of playing on the ropes at her brother’s practices and watching her dad coach him, so she decided to ask her parents if she could try wrestling. Lee Miracle was less than thrilled. “My parents said I could wrestle but my dad didn’t really like the thought of me wrestling and tried to get me to quit,” Kayla said. “For the first couple of weeks he made practices as hard as he possibly could.”

Lee realized pretty quickly he wasn’t going to break his daughter’s spirit when it came to wrestling. “After about two weeks in the room you could see she was a natural. I tried to make it harder. The harder I made it, the more she liked it,” Lee said. “She had such natural abilities and she enjoyed it all, the competition, the toughness, everything.” From those first few practices, Lee knew he had something special in Kayla. Although some may think he is a little biased, Lee believes Kayla is the strongest and most conditioned ath- lete he’s ever coached.

Father or not, that is saying something, coming from a guy who coaches athletes in the U.S. Navy.

Although the Miracle family knew Kayla was a good wrestler, it wasn’t until she competed at the middle school level that they really understood how good she was. She won state titles at the pee-wee level.

Once she was old enough to compete in freestyle tourna- ments, she became one of the top wrestlers in the room, contin-

30 USA Wrestler

Indiana’s Kayla Miracle won a Cadet Nationals title last July in Fargo, N.D. John Sachs photo.

uing her success and winning at the middle school level. In addition, she was also named Most Valuable Wrestler at several tournaments and won multiple conference championships. “She was always consistent,” Lee said. “She won the middle school state championship against the boys, which was a big moment. People worried with girls that they wouldn’t be able to compete with the boys when they get older, but she’s kind of disproved that. She beat them with her technical ability and speed and proved people wrong.”

“She went 38-2 last year and this year she proved she can continue to compete with them,” Lee added. After a stellar freshman campaign, Kayla wasn’t going to be surprising anyone as a sophomore. Each match she was going to receive her opponents’ best efforts. “It motivates me when people come after me,” Kayla said. “They probably watch film on me and study me. I know if I’m going to be wrestling a tough guy I focus on the things I need to get better at to beat them. I watch film and study them. I guess they might put a target on me, but I put one on them, too, so it kind of goes hand-in-hand.”

Continued on page 31

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