RAPID CITY-It is hard to imagine a 0-0 state championship match heading to sudden victory overtime favoring one wrestler more than another, but do not tell that to Howard sophomore Lane Miller.
As he prepared to begin an extra period in which any score ends the match, Miller did not believe there was any way his hand was not going to be raised at the end.
In the end, Miller was correct in his thought process, as he lifted Faulkton Area's No. 1 Gage Martinmaas and drove him to the mat 24 seconds into overtime to win the Class B 113-pound championship via pin on Saturday.
"I saw the finish line," Miller said. "I knew I worked hard enough and I knew right when I got there, it was going to be a pin."
Miller (43-7) certainly worked hard enough, as Howard head coach Corbin Surat described his newly-crowned state champion as "the hardest working wrestler on the team" and he felt it was apropos the match unfolded in the manner it did.
Despite a close call near the end of regulation in which Martinmaas (39-5) nearly escaped Miller's grasp, the majority of the match was a grind, with neither wrestler gaining a true advantage. Surat believed the longer the match lasted, though, the more it leaned in favor of Miller.
"He gets in multiple workouts a day, his shape is there and that match could have gone all night, he was still going to be going after it," Surat said, of his star pupil.
In his third state tournament appearance and a third-place finish a year ago-despite accruing 48 wins during the season-Miller was emotional in the ensuing moments after realizing he won the match.
"I've been dreaming of this since I was little-since I started wrestling," he said. "To accomplish it-it felt great."