December 1, 2022
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Daryl Mills reflects on athletic career | Features

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Sierra High School senior Daryl Mills has a list of accomplishments during his time at Sierra including a fourth-place finish at state wrestling. On May 22, he added a second-place finish at state as he and the boys 4×400 relay captured silver in the final competition of his prep career. Mills will head to Missouri Baptist University in the fall where he’ll compete for the Spartans’ wrestling team and major in Athletic Training.




Daryl Mills had a near perfect send off for his high school athletics career. 

The Sierra High School senior watched his brother, Marcus, win a state title in the 110 hurdles to start the final day of the state track and field meet in Lakewood on May 22. 

Then, to close the meet, the Stallions boys 4×400 relay, where Mills serves as one of the quartet of runners, nearly captured a title of their own. Sierra placed second with a 3 minute, 26.94-seconds race, their fastest time of the year. 

“We’re looking pretty good,” Mills said prior to heading to Lakewood. “We [were] gunning for first. Practice makes perfect, hopefully it will pay off.

Now, Mills will head to Missouri Baptist University in the fall where he’ll compete on the school’s wrestling team and pursue a degree in athletic training.  

Prior to heading to Jefferson County Stadium for the state meet on May 19, 21-22, Mills spoke with the Southeast Express about his brother Marcus, how he discovered his passion for wrestling and his legacy at Sierra.

What are you going to miss the most about running track and field?

Probably running with my brother [Marcus] in the relays. I’m also going to miss being able to see him in his zone at practice because I won’t be here when he’s practicing next year. That’s probably the thing I’ll miss the most – the connection I have with my brother and what he’s doing right now. He’s faster than me on the track, but wrestling is my thing.  

Does Marcus ever give you grief about being faster than you?

Yeah, he’ll say something every now and then. But I’ll bring up wrestling because he can’t beat me in a wrestling match.

How did you get into wrestling?

Mainly because of Marcel Cooper and Ryan Valdez. They helped, me find a passion for wrestling. Wrestling is very hard and, in my opinion, it’s one of the toughest sports. I saw their passion for it and that rubbed off on me. Their dedication is what made me stick around. I didn’t start wrestling until my freshman year. Their passion for the sport rubbed off on me and wrestling became my passion.

In 2020, you finished fifth at regionals and just missed out on state. The following year, you placed second at regionals and sixth at state. This year, you won your region and placed fourth in state at 126 pounds. Do you attribute that climb to the coaches?

I do, because they’d always say champions grow in the dark. No one’s watching them, but that’s when they really put the work in. That’s what I did over the summer. I went to [wrestling] clubs and worked on my own at home. I’m so grateful I got to make it on the podium twice at state. Going from not wrestling in middle school and not knowing anything about wrestling my freshman year to placing fifth at regionals my sophomore year, sixth [at state] my junior year and fourth [at state] my senior year was amazing. The goal this year was to win it, which I believe I could have done, but I fell short, which happens to the best of us. But the next thing for me is college wrestling. I want to grow more as a person, grow more as an athlete and get a college education.  

You wrestled at 126 all but one year in high school. Was it a challenge for you to go from wrestling, to track and field, to club wrestling and maintain your weight?

It wasn’t too bad because I don’t eat a lot of junk food. Doing two sports really helps because I’m active most of the time. My calorie intake and all that stays about the same. I’m around the same weight most of the year. The only time I really put on a few extra pounds is probably Thanksgiving or Christmas. 

What made you decide on attending Missouri Baptist?

I knew the coach personally. His name is Caleb McElfresh. He hit up Coach Cooper, [McElfresh] offered me a scholarship and I didn’t see a reason to turn it down. My goal in Missouri is to either place high or win at the NAIA nationals. Ultimately, I want to transfer to a D-I school to test myself there as well. But I want to test myself at NAIA first. I’m going to major in athletic training while I’m down there. I’m hoping to continue doing something with sports. 

What do you hope your legacy is at Sierra? 

I’m the first, two-time [state] placer on the guy’s side [for wrestling]. I really want someone to see that and know they can do better than what I did in the past. Hopefully someone can finish third, second or maybe we have Sierra’s first male state champion. That’s really all I hope to see when I come back. I want to be an inspiration for someone to do better and keep improving.

Is there anything you’ll miss about living in Colorado Springs while you’re out in Missouri?

Besides my family, not too much. Wrestling is going with me out there. l’ll miss seeing my brother compete and being with family. But I’m ready to move forward with my career. 



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