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Continued from page 30 According to her father, it is Kayla’s strong work ethic and

mental toughness that has brought Kayla to this point in her young career. He also cited her strong Christian faith as a huge piece to her success at such a young age, taking the talents she has been given and turning them into something special. It’s that passion and her desire to use those God given talents that makes her one of the top young prospects in women’s freestyle wrestling. At the FILA Cadet Body Bar Women’s National Championship in Kissimmee, Fla., in May 2011, she took first place in the 108-pound weight class. She also placed first at the Cadet National Championships and second at the Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D. in July. Last August, Miracle got her first taste of overseas competi- tion when she traveled to Hungary for the FILA Cadet World Championships, where she placed eighth. “I believe she is the future (of wrestling),” said Tony DeAnda, the head women’s wrestling coach at Jamestown College who coached Miracle on the Cadet World Team. “She went to the Cadet Worlds and lost a close match but it’s a matter of her get- ting that experience, freestyle wise and transitioning from folk- style and making those changes. She certainly has all the skills and ability.”

“Going overseas was really cool to see the different cultures and countries and how they do things,” Kayla said. “I lost to a girl from Hungary and of course the crowd was all cheering for her. It was really loud and I was nervous. I think going through that will help me prepare for future events and next time I will be calmer about it.”

Although Kayla lost in the first round of the state tournament, she is determined to learn from her experiences and to make it back to tournament, looking for a medal. “All of my experiences have helped me develop as a

wrestler,” Kayla said. “I think going to states this year was real important. Getting there, it wasn’t just handed to me, I went through a lot of struggles, and it was a lot of hard work. I made history and opened doors for other girls.”

Her success in high school has tested her will and desire. “Her mental toughness is by far her greatest strength,” Lee said. “I’ve never had an athlete endure as much as she does but she never gives up and continues to fight. This year was dif- ficult, she had some trouble making weight and really struggled with that. She went through a lot of adversity but she didn’t quit. She has a heart of a lion.” DeAnda also noted Kayla’s mental toughness as her biggest asset saying, “She’s mentally tough. She has gotten down in matches but holds her composure and doesn’t panic. Some wrestlers get frustrated when they are down points but she stays composed and battles.”

DeAnda and Lee Miracle also agree in order for Kayla to keep progressing, she needs more women’s freestyle experi- ence and more international experience to compliment her strong skill level and abilities. “Just learning the strategy and tactics in freestyle and wrestling women more, that will go a long way with helping her develop,” DeAnda said.

Kayla, who also runs cross country for Culver, continues to set lofty goals for herself.

For the near future, Kayla has her sights set on winning the Cadet World Championships this summer and wants to place in the state tournament next year.

“People keep saying I’ve broken the glass ceiling and now that I’ve made history I want to go back to states and place and make more history. I’m not sure what I want to do for college yet but obviously my goal is to win at that level too. Ultimately, though, I want to make the 2016 Olympics,” she said.

31 USA Wrestler

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