AP NEWS
Related topics

Miller aiming for big finish

October 17, 2018

Columbus High’s Lucas Miller is preparing for his third state cross country meet on Friday at the Kearney Country Club. The Discoverers will run at 1:30 p.m.

Miller has been one of the strongest runners all years for CHS, and with his ninth-place finish at districts, was able to lead his team to a third-place finish qualifying them for state.

Of all his trips to state, Miller said this one might be the most exciting.

“This year has been the most special,” he said. “Before the meet, one of my teammates came up to me and he told me that he wasn’t feeling good. His leg was hurting, and he’s had problems with injuries all year. It made it a lot more special to run for him and just barely make it, instead of last year where we knew we were one of the best teams coming in and we knew that we were probably going to qualify.”

Miller is not only a cross-country runner though. He is a member of the CHS band where he plays the marimba, enjoys playing video games when at home and can be found at the local card game store on weekends.

The marimba is a mallet instrument that can be found in the front of the band during football games.

“When I came (into band) in my freshman year I had just skipped a grade,” Miller said. “I hadn’t had the experience the year before, and I hadn’t done the audition, so I just showed up and they’re like, ‘You’re on drum set,’ and I was like, ‘I don’t play drums,’ but I learned.

“Over that summer I learned, but then after that, the drum set is a part of the front instruments so I got to know those people really well. The next drum set part was a lot harder, so I started playing the mallet instruments instead, and I got really good at those. Now I’m probably the second best mallet instrument player there, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go to another instrument.”

Improvement can be seen in Miller’s cross country career as well. At the 2016 state meet, he ran a 17:54 at the state meet. Two years later, he’s aiming to break 17 minutes on the same course.

“The times go down each year, and I get to see myself watch on the phone,” Miller said. “You can see how much more confidence I ran with during my senior year. My mom recently pulled up a video of me running freshman year, and then a video of me running at districts, and I was running with a lot more confidence at districts, and that’s something that makes me proud.”

Miller said that his times were not where he would have liked them to be at the beginning of the year. Even so Miller found his stride during the district meet last week.

“Honestly, for a lot of this year, I was behind my times last year, but this last meet I performed really well, and I was ahead of my time,” he said. “Since I’m finally performing better than I was before, and improving at the same rate I want to try to set a new record that I’ve never broken for myself which is getting bellow 17 (minutes) in a 5k race”.

Miller knows that running sub-17 isn’t going to be an easy feat. Due to the excitement of making it to the biggest meet of the year, many of the competitors start out the race at too quick.

“A lot of people go out way too strong because they get way too excited. I’ve just got to pull it back a little bit,” he said. “I’m not going to be running at the front at the beginning, but hopefully, by the end, I’ll be running a good enough pace that I run sub-17.”

Miller’s running career started long before his first time at state. He was running competitively all the way back in elementary school track where he originally found his talent for distance running.

Back in those days, he was one of just handful willing to take on long distances. In junior high, he posted the top time on the team and has been leading from the front ever since.

Yet, despite his talent for running, Miller doesn’t love it all of the time.

“When I’m just running out around Columbus at my own pace and just kind of getting from point A to point B I do love running,” Miller said. “But, when I’m in the middle of a race and it’s at the hardest part of mile two and I’m breathing hard and almost dying, I don’t like running too much then, but being able to see that I got a good time does vindicate that for me.”

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com