All year long, Austin Miller the baseball player has laced up his cleats and given one entirely impressive effort to the Pirates and his coach Justin Elmore. As a pitcher, he was the workhorse, and when not pitching he hit lead-off and played shortstop.
Then on May 17, Miller threw a gem of a game versus Coshocton in a district semifinal contest, but it wasn’t enough as the Pirates fell 2-1 in 10 innings.
That was when Miller stepped out of life number one and into life number two, that of a track star.
Despite not having run in track all spring, Miller stepped into the Div. III West Holmes district track meet May 21 and roared to victory.
While this might stun some people, it was not a reach for Miller, who placed second at the Ohio Indoor State Track Meet this winter. Although he hasn’t had a lot of time to practice in recent days, Miller’s wheels are every bit as impressive as they were this winter, and he parked himself right on the heels of front-runner Adam Shaw of Carrollton and bided his time. He turned on the jets over the final 200 meters, and went sub-2, finishing in 1:58.74, ahead of Shaw’s runner-up time of 2:00.68.
It all seemed like part of Miller’s grand scheme.
“We had talked all along about this being a possible, if we got knocked out of baseball before the district meet,” said Miller of the quick change of scenery. “So, here I am.”
Miller said he had actually taken a couple of opportunities to run some 800s while the baseball season was still in progress. It also helped that he came into the district meet having run against and beaten many of the top competitors in the district race, so he knew what he was up against.
“I knew there was some pretty good competition here, because I had seen them before, but I wasn’t surprised to win today,” said Miller. “I was aware of what I had to run to win, and I executed my strategy very well today.”
Even though he now has one week to prepare, that still leaves little time to do anything but get used to utilizing the God-given talents he has been given. He said he didn’t draft particularly well on the first lap of the 800, which had him running a little slower time than he expected. However, that left him with plenty of kick down the backstretch, a kick he used to propel himself into first place and a date at regionals.
“I have a training plan and I will work with the coaches, because they know what they are doing, and I trust them fully,” said Miller. “It’s kind of interesting to have been knocked out of the baseball tournament and still be competing. It’s a little strange.”