Dan Mirman can’t explain it, but things starting clicking for him near the end of the season.
The John Carroll University wrestler put together a great postseason and placed sixth Saturday to earn All-America status at the NCAA Division III Championships in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The 149-pounder went undefeated in Ohio Athletic Conference duals, won the Mideast Regional earlier this month to secure his second straight trip to nationals and carried an impressive win streak into the weekend.
“I guess things just started clicking for me,” the former Highland product said. “I started to pick things up in the room and started carrying less about just winning and losing and worried about wrestling for fun.
“I was fixing some small things. My mentally, I got it in my head that I was going to do whatever it took to win.”
After steamrolling competition at regionals, which including beating third-ranked Luke Lohr 3-2 in the finals, Mirman carried a 13-match win streak into nationals.
A first team All-OAC selection, the 5-foot-6 Mirman made the most of his second trip to the national stage and won his first two matches to assure himself a spot on the podium.
He became John Carroll’s first All-American since Ben Adams in 2010.
Mirman overcame a tough first-round draw against a reigning All-American in Will Keeter of Augsburg and made it look easy in posting a 10-5 decision.
The sophomore followed by beating Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Elroy Perkin for the second time this season, this time 4-3. Mirman beat Perkin 3-1 earlier this season en route to winning the Pete Wilson Invitational at Wheaton.
“I knew that half the battle was winning the first day because I didn’t want to put myself up against it (on Saturday) and have to win to stay,” he said. “I wanted to win those two to get locked into be an All-American.”
On the final day, Mirman lost in overtime to top-seeded Bobby Diema of SUNY-Cortland before dropping decisions to Delaware Valley’s Vincent Fava (3-2) and Perkin (8-5) to place sixth and finish the season 27-7.
“It’s a great feeling because I’ve been working hard the past couple of weeks,” the 21-year-old said. “My main goal was to be champ, but to be an All-American is pretty exciting and I’m happy.”
While he didn’t finish the tournament the way he wanted to, it’s fuel for the upcoming months when he gets back into the weight room and starts training.
“Losing in the semis in overtime is really going to eat at me for a while,” Mirman said. “It’s going to drive me for next year so I can hopefully get on top.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.