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Miller follows, and outpaces, father's footsteps

Like many boys, Camden Catholic's T.J. Miller grew up wrestling his father.

Like many boys, Camden Catholic's T.J. Miller grew up wrestling his father.

Unlike with most of the other boys, it did not take long before Miller had his way with his dad.

While this is an impressive feat of strength on its own, it becomes even more stunning when you consider his competition: a former high school wrestler.

"By the time he got to seventh or eighth grade, he probably knew more than I did," said Brian Miller, who twice finished second in his district while wrestling for Shawnee.

T.J. Miller is about to begin his senior season for the Irish. As a sophomore, he earned a state championship at 135 pounds. He finished third as a junior at 145, where he will wrestle this season.

He owes a good amount of his success to his father, who helped get him involved in the sport.

"My dad introduced me to the sport when I was in kindergarten," said T.J. Miller, who will wrestle at the University of Virginia next season. "He's the main reason for me getting into wrestling. He's the main reason for my success."

As T.J. Miller continued to develop as a wrestler, eventually devoting all his focus to the sport while in the fifth grade, Brian's support was needed, as well. With elite competitions all over the state, the Millers frequently took and bonded over wrestling trips, which eventually led T.J. to two youth state titles when he was 8 and 10.

"I used to drive him all over to tournaments," said Brian Miller, who still attends all of Camden Catholic's matches. "You spend a lot of time together, especially because we were driving to some far tournaments and spending a lot of time in hotels for tournaments."

After T.J. got to Camden Catholic, Brian Miller often became the one putting in the labor.

"When T.J. was a freshman and sophomore, his dad would take him anywhere," Camden Catholic coach Ryan McCormick said. "If he wanted to get extra workouts, his dad would drive him an hour to get the extra time.

"At that point, Brian's putting in as much work taking him to places."

Despite showing constant support for his son and having a wrestling background, Brian Miller did not have to lecture his hardworking son.

"I just provided transportation, and I would just sit in his corner," Brian Miller said. "I didn't have to say much to him."

While his dad introduced him to the sport and helped him develop into one of the area's top high school wrestlers, T.J. Miller is confident he's the top wrestler in the Miller household.

That claim doesn't draw any objections.

"Oh yeah," T.J. Miller said when asked if he could take down his father in his prime.

"He's a little further advanced than I was," Brian Miller added with a laugh. "That's for sure."