It isn’t difficult to observe the steps Randon Miranda (55 kg, NYAC/OTS) has taken recently. When he first arrived at Northern Michigan a few years ago now (time flies), his technical ability was only rivaled by his desire to learn, his willingness to absorb the environment, to take the obligatory lumps and use them as the hard-knock lessons he knew he’d need. That Miranda entered into the fray in concert with several other young future stars helped, for sure. Having some companionship as you attempt to slog it up an unforgiving mountainside replete with falling rocks is always a positive. But Miranda never faltered. He embraced every aspect of the Greco-Roman lifestyle — and because of that fact — the 20-year-old has turned himself into one of the most consistently successful competitors in the country.
With two Junior World Team appearances under his belt and a vast collection of standout performances all over the globe, it is quite clear that Miranda has his priorities in order. Just check out his ledger from the past four months. A runner-up finish at the U23 World Team Trials to teammate Dalton Roberts (60 kg) kicked off a sparkling run that continued yesterday in Denmark. Following the U23 Trials in Minnesota his record looks like this: Klippan Cup gold, Malar Cupen gold, Lavrikov Memorial silver, Haavisto Cup gold, Thor Masters silver. We’re talking five straight overseas tournaments in which Miranda at least made his weight class final.
Most importantly for Miranda, it is the level of competition that matters just as much. He endured a tough match or two in the Sweden events (Klippan and Malar Cupen), but his victories there were not surprising. But at the Haavisto Cup, the tone changed. Those were legitimate Seniors populating that bracket, verifiable men, and Miranda, undersized just a bit at 59 kilograms, leaned on his pace, technique, and aggression to come away with gold. At this past weekend’s Thor Masters, the breadth of talent was ratcheted up a notch. Miranda outgunned three experienced foreigners to secure his spot in the finals but fell short of nabbing the top spot on the podium to a very strong, very skilled Ilya Tsaruyk (ISR). But if you know Miranda, that’s a conversation he’d like to have again, and as soon as possible.
After two days of high-level matches, making weight twice, and still trying to overcome jet lag, Miranda agreed to offer his take on the weekend that was and how he felt throughout his latest journey to another international medal.
Randon Miranda on his performance at 2018 Thor Masters
“I did feel good during the whole tournament. I’d say what was probably the biggest factor was the weight cut, cutting to 57 kilos. Not only cutting to 57 kilos, but making it both days in a row. So you really have to watch what you eat on that first day. It felt like you could see in other people that being a factor, they were tired too, so I didn’t feel alone on that, but I didn’t want to be a part of that group.
“For my first match, I felt really good after weigh-ins. I only had one match on the first day. The second day (Saturday), I got a quick tech against Hungary (Krisztian Kecskemeti) and then against Estonia (Helary Maegisalu), it was a pretty tough brawl. We were going at it. During that match I was never worried, I never felt like I was going to lose. I never felt like I was backing out, I felt like I was standing my ground. He was coming at me, pushing at me hard. Right at the last ten seconds when I was near the edge, I’m really good at that counter-wrestling, so when he started coming at me I ducked him and was able to get four points. That felt really good.
“After that, I had a good break and in the finals I wrestled Israel (Tsaruyk). You know, the finals, being a Junior last year and looking at some of the Seniors who competed last year here, it was kind of like a little nerve wracking because I’ve seen videos of the finals. I was pretty excited, I wasn’t really nervous. I was excited, I like the spotlight. They had the lights and the smoke, and the ceremony girls dancing. I had a really good time, it was a really good tournament. My finals match was good. He felt strong and controlled my positions very well, not allowing me to score or get into my positions that I’m good at. Mostly, I’m a very good counter-wrestler, but he didn’t allow me to get too much.
“But I felt really well after the tournament. I felt like there is a lot to work on. Mostly, it’s the little things. Every time, it’s just little things, I just try to take a little, tiny part of what happened. I’ll watch a video and take a couple notes, like, Okay, next time in practice, I’ll work on this. But other than that, I felt really good and I’m excited for next month when we go to New York for the Bill Farrell. I’m looking forward to that. I’d just like to thank my coaches at Northern Michigan University for preparing me for this tournament and the New York Athletic Club for being such a great sponsor.”