This past weekend at the MAC championships former Southeast Polk wrestler Willie Miklus qualified for the NCAA championships after his runner-up performance in the 184 pound bracket. Senior Mikey England of Centerville also qualified for Missouri at 165 to make it 10 for 10 for the Tigers. The MAC championships were held in Columbia, Missouri so the Tigers had home field advantage and they will also have a home turf advantage with the NCAA championships being held in St. Louis.
Miklus tore through the MAC regular season earning the #1 seed thanks to his 9-7 sudden victory over top five Jack Dechow of Old Dominion on his opponent’s home mat. Dechow returned the favor this past weekend with a tight 6-4 win in the MAC finals, but with two NCAA allocations for 184, Miklus guaranteed his post season would continue on to the NCAAs with his second place finish.
Miklus opened his tournament in a big way by getting a fall over Michael Curby of Eastern Michigan in the third period. He followed that win with a 12-4 major decision against Andrew Romanchik of Ohio in the semifinals, making him one of eight Missouri wrestlers to reach the finals.
England’s tournament got off to a poor start losing 3-2 to #4 seed Jordan Wohlfert in the opening round. England responded with a second period fall to reach the consolation finals needing a fourth place finish to advance to the NCAAs. He lost 7-2 to Ohio’s Harrison Hightower, who went on to take third. In the 5th place match England got revenge over Wohlfert 4-1 to earn a chance to defeat Shaun`Qae McMurtry of Northern Illinois to lock up the conference autobid. England got a 4-1 win there as well to place true fourth and will be advancing to the NCAA tournament.
Miklus route to Missouri has certainly been an interesting one, starting with him getting a couple runner-up finishes at 119 and 145 as a freshman and sophomore for Southeast Polk. Miklus continued to grow then winning titles at 171 and 220 as a junior and senior, putting himself as a top 100 recruit. Instead of immediately enrolling in college, Miklus headed to the Olympic Training Center for a year and then enrolled at Missouri where he was projected to compete for the 197 spot. With teammate and friend J’den Cox winning a NCAA title as a true freshman, Miklus had to make other plans dropping to 184, a weight he had not seen since between his junior and senior year of high school and is now a top 20 wrestler at his weight.
England also took an interesting route, winning four medals for Centerville high school before enrolling at Iowa State. At Iowa State he completed three seasons competing at 174, winning a Harold Nichols Open title. He then transferred to Missouri where he started at 174 last season, and this season with the decent of Miklus, which caused John Eblen to drop a weight to 174, which finally then forced England down to 165.