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TRAILBLAZER: Punxsutawney’s Jael Miller Dominates on the Way to 170-pound Title in First PIAA Girls Wrestling Championships

HERSHEY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Some of Jael Miller’s first memories are of the wrestling mat.

At the age of five, she watched her older brothers, John-Mark Miller and Joshua Miller, excel at the sport. She wanted to follow in their footsteps.

But a girl wrestling? It was virtually unheard of and certainly not anywhere near the mainstream.

(Pictured above, Jael Miller/photo courtesy of the Punxsutawney Area School District)

Fast forward to now, under the bright spotlight in the Giant Center in Hershey on Saturday night, Punxsutawney’s Jael Miller was on the mat in the biggest bout of her life — the 170-pound final in the first-ever PIAA girls wrestling tournament.

Miller had dominated the field on the way to the championship with a pin in 44 seconds, a 9-0 major decision, and another pin in just 41 seconds in the semifinals over Audrey Calgaro of Canon-McMillan.

Punxsutawney Area High School sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.


That set up a final against Maya Krieger of Bensalem.

Krieger was no match for Miller, who pinned her in 3:02 to win the state championship.

“It felt super good,” Miller said. “I haven’t had a dominant season like I did this year ever and it was a great feeling.”

Miller was untouchable in her junior campaign, finishing 28-0 with 26 falls. Her state quarterfinal victory was her only decision of the season. Another win was by forfeit.

Miller battled back from a severe wrist injury that sidelined her for seven months last year.

She missed most of her sophomore campaign, going just 5-1.

But she returned this season stronger than ever and blitzed her way through opponent after opponent. She was ranked No. 1 in the state in her weight class all year and showed why each night out.

This year has been a revelation for Miller.

A decade after getting the wrestling bug from her brothers, Miller had the opportunity to get a state championship in the first girls state tournament.

That makes her win even more special.

“It means a lot to me to win the first girls state championship,” she said. “I really hope I can inspire more girls to do so in the future.”

Punxsutawney Area High School sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.