Wyalusing grad Millard retiring from wrestling
For the past four years Wyalusing graduate Justin Millard has had a dream.
He's worked day after day toward the ultimate goal of trying to earn a spot in the Olympics for Greco-Roman wrestling.
"The last four years, we trained hard," he said. "I have had success. I've been on the national team. I've been top three in the country. I won armed forces twice. I placed top four in the country and I took fifth in the military world championships.
"It was all part of the path to the Olympics. I won my first match at the trials and then lost my second to the eventual champion. He's a good guy, he's a harder worker."
In the end, Millard's Olympic dreams came up short as he fell to R.C. Johnson, the same wrestler who ended his shot at the Olympics four years ago when he took third at the Olympic trials.
"I lost to him the last trials, and since that trials I lost to him once and I beat him twice, then I lost to him this weekend," he said. "It's a really tough loss, but R.C. is really tough and he's a good loss. Besides the loss, there are no regrets."
Now, that the Olympic trials are over, Millard has decided it's time to end his wrestling career.
"I want to see what else God has in store for me," he said. "All good things come to an end. I'm 30 now. I have a daughter. I'm getting older. It's time to do something that's not as hard on my body as wrestling."
For Millard, it is hard watching his Olympic dream end, but he knows now is the time to do something else.
"Sometimes you forget because Greco-Roman is such a small sport and there are only seven or eight guys at your weight, so you start to think third or fourth isn't that good," he said. "But, you have to remember, you aren't just the third or fourth at your weight, you are No. 3 or 4 in the country.
"It's always hard to swallow a loss. But there is a point where you are ready to move on."
For Millard, Greco Roman wrestling has been his life for a long time.
"After high school I went to Edinboro for a year, then I left Edinboro to wrestle Greco-Roman full time at Northern Michigan University."
Now, it's time to switch his goals and dreams from wrestling to other things.
"My wife and I were talking about it the other day," Millard said. "It's kind of daunting, it's the first time in over 22 years that I have not been a wrestler. I started wrestling in third grade. Everything I have done has been geared toward wrestling.
"Now, that I'm done I'm a 30 year old man and I have a family. It's kind of an uneasy feeling, but at the same time, everything is in front of me and it's a new world. God has his will and he will work it through me."
Millard has been wrestling for the U.S. Army wrestling team and he now has a plan for what comes next.
"I am going to pursue my military career," he said. "I am going to become an officer in the army. I am going to go from junior enlisted to an officer. It's very exciting. When I was in the army I got my degree and put in my resume. I will be a civilian part of the time in the reserves."
For Millard the future is exciting, it's just going to be different.
"I have wrestled for the past eight years," he said. 'I don't really feel like I've worked. It's kind of time to get a real job. I've never felt like what I was doing was work, I was just doing what I love to do.
"The biggest goal is to honor god with everything I do and to see my daughter grow up and live my life the right way."