Palm Coast, FL – While they may not have won state, this time, brothers Tyson and Jordan Mills ended up with some really cool experiences and a bragging right of their own.
The first freshman from Matanzas High School to make it to the high school state championships, ninth grader Jordan Mills was stoked after the weekend’s competition in Panama City, Florida.
“It was just an overall great experience for me and I was really humbled by it,” he said.
Putting in plenty of work to get to the top, Jordan, who wrestles in the 160 weight class, gave credit to his coaches and his brother Tyson for motivating him to do his very best.
“My coaches really drive me to be better and my brother really pushes me to be the best I can be,” said Jordan.
After experiencing the excitement of making it to the upper echelon of the 152 weight class, Tyson was ready to put in the extra work during the off season, to come back and dominate during his senior year at Matanzas High School.
“This weekend at the state tournament I learned a lot. It was a great learning experience for me and I had to work really hard to get there,” said Tyson with appreciation. “When you get to that level, it just shows you how much harder you have to work.”
Both boys were excited take part in a tradition for athletes who make it to that level.
“Through the years it’s like a tradition that if you make it to states, almost every wrestler bleaches their hair,” said Jordan. “We asked our coach why they do it and apparently it leads back to Abraham Lincoln. He did it to represent his fire and desire because Abraham Lincoln wrestled and that was his passion to win.”
In addition to the wrestling team, both brothers are on the football team and mom Rachel Mills says they’re hitting the books hard as well, to be successful.
“I am so grateful they made it this far,” shared Rachel. “I told them at the beginning of the season ‘If you want to go farther than all the other kids, you have to do more’.”
Following in their father’s footsteps – Abe Mills is a former BYU football player and enjoyed wrestling during his younger years, the boys’ sister Mariah Mills is also a wrestler, and made her debut at the state competition. While her division wasn’t sanctioned this year as a seventh grader, Rachel says the family is proud of her spirit.
“She’s just starting in the sport but she went out there and fought so hard,” said Rachel. “We have a YouTube channel and that video has a quarter million views – everyone loves it. After seeing the boys push so hard and wrestle so hard, I think she was a little bit more of a natural watching her brothers.”
A supportive dad, Abe was very proud of the kids’ performance and determination during the state championships.
“It’s awesome to see my kids go through challenging times and also have successes on the wrestling mat. Wrestling has taught me so much about life and I’m grateful that they are getting the opportunity to experience it now,” he said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m out there wrestling with them.”
The family of 10 is also known to the public as Sunshine Mafia, a feel-good, family-friendly band focused on sharing the love and positivity with everyone they meet.
“I think what inspires others is that we’re average, but we work hard,” said Rachel. “I feel like that inspires other people because they see themselves in us and they say wow, if they can do that, I think I can too. They say ‘I can work hard, I can support my siblings, I can love others’, we hear that a lot.”
Find out more at www.sunshinemafia.com.
Jordan Mills, Mariah Mills and Tyson Mills all participated in the high school wrestling state championship over the weekend. Photo courtesy Rachel Mills.