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The Antelope

From California to Kearney


Miranda leaves California to become first in family to graduate college

JD Rader

Antelope Staff

Richie Miranda is no stranger to hard work. For that, he says he can thank his parents first and the sport of wrestling second.

The son of two Mexican immigrants, Miranda has always had at least two positive role models in his life. “My parents are my role models. They are hardworking and have accomplished a lot since moving to the US,” Miranda said. 

It is Miranda’s father Ricardo, and mother Alma, who showed him the value of hard work and how far it can take a person. Miranda’s hard work and dedication have brought him from the beaches of Santa Ana, California, to the plains of Kearney, Nebraska.

Growing up in Santa Ana, Miranda spent most of his days on the beach or in the auto repair shop with his father. “Santa Anna is a pretty chill place to grow up. A lot things to do. You’ve got the beach and all kinds of activities. It taught me a lot growing up in California and in the city.”

Miranda’s time on the beach diminished once he entered high school, but that was alright with him. “I started wrestling freshman year of high school. Once I started wrestling, that took a lot of my time… I don’t know why I started wrestling, but once I did I liked it. Wrestling my first match in my first tournament I was really tired, but I won and I just kept going from there.”

After high school Miranda chose to spend the next two years at home, attending Santa Ana College. While there Miranda continued to grow as a person and wrestler. He earned All-American honors both years at the California State Championships for the Dons.

After using up his two years of eligibility at Santa Ana College, Miranda knew he wanted to continue wrestling and further his education.

It didn’t take long for him to choose UNK. “I found out about UNK because one of my high school coaches knew (assistant wrestling coach) Tom McCann. It’s a great atmosphere here with the athletics, and coach Bauer and coach Jensen seemed like good guys,” Miranda said.

While the decision may have been easy, the move was not. “At first it was hard leaving California just because of being away from family. It’s very different going from big city to small town, but I think it’s things you have to go through in life. It teaches you a lot,” Miranda said.   

Once on campus, Miranda found a second family in the wrestling team. “The coaches brought me in with open arms,” he said. It has been good: “A lot of memories in wrestling, competing and hanging out with my teammates.”

Wrestling didn’t just bring Miranda close friends. “Wrestling has helped me in all aspects of life, like being confident in what I do. It has taught me a lot about myself. It has helped me build character and discipline.”

It is that character and discipline that Miranda is using in his final year at UNK. Despite using up all of his athletic eligibility, Miranda decided to stay at UNK to finish school and get a degree in criminal justice.

This decision will make Miranda the first in his family to earn a college degree. “I think it (being the first to graduate college in his family) sets an example for my brother and sisters. It shows them that they can continue their education too,” he said.

It is this attitude and need to help others that convinced current head UNK wrestling coach Dalton Jensen to name Miranda an assistant coach for the upcoming wrestling season while Miranda finishes school. “Richie is everything a coach wants in an athlete. He always brings good attitude and effort. He is a great leader and representative for our program,” said

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