It’s a new year and Washington has a new wrestling coach.
But not a whole lot has changed. The Panthers are ranked No. 1 in the state with a huge target on their chests.
“It’s the same approach to practice, don’t to worry about a state championship. Handle us,” said Washington coach Nick Miller. “Stay focused on us. Are we wrestling to our potential? If we’re doing these things, the target will be what it is.”
Miller knows all about the success of Washington wrestling. He spent 12 years as a Panthers assistant under Bryan Medlin before being named the head coach prior to the season.
After winning consecutive state titles, Medlin left Washington to become part of the University of Illinois wrestling program.
Miller says he doesn’t feel the pressure of taking over a two-time defending state championship program.
“If there’s any pressure to be felt, it’s just to maintain the standard set, not a certain result but just to get the most of every kid that comes into the room,” Miller said.
The Panther wrestlers say there’s not much difference between Medlin and Miller. They worked together so long, coach the same way and talk the same way.
“Miller is a little quieter,” said senior Tyler Delaware, a state runner-up in 2017. “He pretty much says the same things Medlin used to say. Just less intense.”
So far, so good. Washington has a new coach but the winning results have remained the same.