January 21, 2016 at 11:45am

Millikin Wrestling to take center stage at Kirkland Fine Arts Center

Millikin Wrestling

In a unique blending of arts and athletics, the Millikin University wrestling team will take to the stage for its dual meet against Cornell College on Thursday, Feb. 11, at Kirkland Fine Arts Center on Millikin's campus.

In addition to a collegiate wrestling match featuring two nationally ranked NCAA Division III programs, the wrestling extravaganza event will include music by Millikin's acclaimed Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Brian Justison, Millikin professor of music, and a presentation by wrestling icon Dan Gable.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with a presentation from Dan Gable starting at 6:10 p.m. and the wrestling match taking to the Kirkland stage at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event are only $10 dollars and can be purchased at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Ticket Office or online at millikin.edu/kirkland.

Millikin Wrestling

The Millikin wrestling team has made a triumphant return to competition this season as the Big Blue program took to the mats for the first time since 2008. Millikin has had several outstanding individual and team performances earning them national attention. As of mid-January, the Millikin team had earned a spot in the D3wrestle.com Top 30 national rankings and five Big Blue wrestlers had fought their way to individual national rankings.

Dan Gable's accomplishments both as a wrestler and a coach are legendary. During his high school and collegiate wrestling careers he had a record of 181-1. He wrestled collegiately at Iowa State University where he went 117-1 with his only defeat coming in the NCAA finals his senior year. Gable was a two time NCAA National Wrestling Champion and three-time All-American and three-time Big Eight champion. He set NCAA records in winning and pin streaks. After college, he continued his wrestling success on the world stage including winning a Gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Gable was the head coach of the University of Iowa's wrestling program from 1976-1997 and was Iowa's all-time winningest coach. Gable led Iowa to 15 NCAA National Wrestling Team Titles while compiling a career record of 355-21-5. He coached 152 All-Americans, 45 National Champions, 106 Big Ten Champions and 12 Olympians, including four gold, one silver and three bronze medalists. Gable coached many United States teams in International Freestyle competition. He is a three-time Olympic head coach (1980, 1984 and 2000).

Millikin Percussion Ensemble

The Millikin Chamber Percussion Ensembles, under the direction of Justison, have been widely acclaimed for their performances of concert repertoire for percussion instruments. They are a recent winner of the Percussive Arts Society International Percussion Ensemble Competition and were selected to perform at the 2008 PASIC Focus Day session. In 2013, the group was awarded a Downbeat Student Music Award for "Best Classical Group."