Mar. 13—Colfax-Mingo senior Miranda McGill didn't join the Tigerhawk wrestling team until her junior year.
It took some effort in the hallways from C-M head coach Erin Hume. And McGill went into it thinking she would hate it.
But McGill gave the sport a chance, was voted a team captain by her senior year and eventually earned a chance to compete at the next level.
McGill signed a National Letter of Intent with Grand View University women's wrestling recently and there's still plenty of room for improvement from a grappler who has only seen two full years of mat time.
"She went into it thinking she was going to hate it, but she also kept an open mind," Hume said. "And I would say her being able to wrestle in college just proves that I was right."
Grand View University is new to women's wrestling. The program is still in its infancy, but the Viking men's team is one of the best in the NAIA ranks.
"I picked Grand View because it had the program I was interested in," McGill said. "I chose to wrestle there because I loved both coaches and their attitudes toward wrestling and it seemed like a good fit for me.
"I also decided that two years of wrestling for me wasn't enough because there is so much more I can achieve, and I think Grand View will help get me there."
McGill was 6-4 as a junior and went 0-2 at the girls state wrestling tournament at 138 pounds.
She took a big step forward as a senior, finishing 13-5 at 152. She was 2-2 at the state tournament. That was not what she had hoped for, and Hume thinks she can use that as motivation at the next level.
"Her ceiling is high," Hume said. "She'll keep getting better. And I think she probably has a chip on her shoulder.
"I'm happy for Miranda. She barely missed a practice in two years. She committed to the sport and got good at it."
McGill said it wasn't until Hume just kept bugging her that she decided to give wrestling a shot.
The Tigerhawks have been one of the leaders in the state as far as growing the sport of girls' wrestling. C-M finished third at this year's state tournament.
"I am glad I joined wrestling. It has taught me so much," McGill said. "It has shown me everything I am capable of. It's also exciting to be part of girls wrestling growing in Iowa.
"I also want to thank the boys on the team for being so open to girls in the room. I think it made it possible for both teams to achieve everything that they have over the past two years."
Grand View University's head women's wrestling coach is Angelo Crinzi. The assistant coach is Arelys Valles. They are both in their second year with the Vikings.
"On our team, we have athletes who have wrestled their entire lives and we have athletes who have only wrestled a couple years," Crinzi said. "All of them have a lot of growth if they want to be a national champion in college and Miranda is no exception."
McGill was unsure what weight class the Vikings' coaching staff would place her in to start, but she expects to be around 143. Crinzi said he thinks she is more likely to be at 155.
"Things can change when you get to college," Crinzi said. "I want our athletes healthy and feeling their best. We have some great weight lifting and nutrition coaches here so we'll take a look at weight classes after we finish preseason to see where she would compete the best at."
McGill plans to major in nursing. Crinzi said the Vikings' program brings in a lot of girls who choose that career path.
"Miranda's work ethic on the mat and passion to compete are what stood out during the recruiting process," Crinzi said. "She is definitely a great fit here at GV."