AMES — Willie Miklus didn’t want to admit to himself that Sunday would be a big deal.
No. 11 Iowa State hosted No. 5 Missouri at Hilton Coliseum and Miklus was wrestling against his former team, on senior night with his dad, Garry, who is battling ALS, matside. It was a very big deal.
The Cyclones lost 23-15, but split the 10 matches with bonus points being the key that carried the Tigers to victory.
No. 5 Miklus won his match over No. 22 Wyatt Koelling, 4-0. He embraced his former teammate and celebrated with both the Iowa State fans and the large contingent of Missouri fans in attendance.
The entire arena gave Willie a standing ovation after his match.
“It was emotional,” Miklus said. “Especially when I turned around and acknowledged the Mizzou fans. I loved being a Tiger. I love being a Cyclone. I love going out there and competing and representing my school. It was emotional with having my family there too. It was a bigger deal than I let on and wanted to admit to before, but it was huge.
“It’s something I’ve been trying to prepare myself for since I knew I was coming back home.”
Willie loves being a Cyclone and his coaches and teammates love him being Cyclone just as much.
“Willie is a very special and very unique young man,” Iowa State Coach Kevin Dresser said. “We were excited to get him and obviously we were in the right place at the right time to get Willie at Iowa State for this last year. We’re praying and thinking about his family a lot right now while they’re going through some tough times. His mom and dad, from the minute I met them, have been huge Iowa State fans and Iowa State supporters.
“I think you saw afterward how much the Missouri folks thought of Willie. He’s a guy we’re going to keep around.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Miklus, a sixth-year senior and three-time All-American for Missouri, has been a mentor to the exceptionally young Iowa State team as the only senior in the starting lineup.
“It was amazing having Willie this year,” sophomore 149-pounder Jarrett Degen said. “Starting with him coming here and being a leader right when he got here. It was really nice having an older guy on the team to look up to and model yourself after.
“Tonight, seeing him get that win, see everyone give him the standing ovation and going out like that, it was awesome. But he’s not done yet.”
l Comments: email@example.com