Growth, young excitement and new school records will be the takeaways from the 2017 Christian Heritage Academy (CHA) track season, where elements of past seasons reappeared with different faces attached.
During many of the seasons track has been ran, it has provided an option for many natural athletes needing to play something in the spring to not go insane. Although Miller strives for the team to be competitive, he embraces the diversity in those who run and their reasoning behind doing it.
But Miller would be lying if he said an underlying hope of his is to obtain runners for the fall cross-country season. The atmosphere of a track event, though significantly different in some areas, resembles that of a cross-country meet.
Make the athletes fall in love with a track meet, and they will naturally be inclined to running in a cross-country — it’s simple math that Miller hopes works, as his favorite athletic season comes around the corner.
“I know the ones [runners] who are doing track because it’s there. Of the new ones who weren’t already involved with cross-country, I think I’d be comfortable in saying I’ll get around half,” he said. “I don’t want to jinx anything, but I think I’m going to get some of these kids [running track] are really going to be a boost to the core of kids who are already there [running cross-country], both high school and middle school.”
A definite benefit of cross-country over track is the time of year it takes place — the fall. CHA was been riddled with rained-out track events, shortening its season from the originally scheduled five events for the varsity team to an actual three, and the middle school from two down to just one.
All was not lost in sporadic mother nature, though. The results may not have been the most competitive against area public schools, but were more than satisfactory for the personal record-keeping of the school. With nine school records seized in both teams throughout the duration of the season, calling it a success would be an understatement.
Miller feels that even though less meets were ran, the athletes took those they could run in more seriously, which highlighted their improvement from working under the Miller Method.
“I think the rained out meets helped the improvement be more visible because it spaced out their opportunities to race,” Miller said. “It probably wasn’t a bad thing — they needed to see the improvement.”
After so many years as the head coach of everything running at Christian Heritage, Miller still looks forward to the differing running styles carried over from different sports. The challenge of shaping an athlete in a way that will be profitable for both his team and any other sport they contribute serves as the most fun.
“To take kids that ordinarily would not have the opportunity to take part in something, and to take kids like Colette [Hodges] and Hayden [Hodges], whose concentration is on other sports and get them to enjoy running, that’s always a thing for me,” Miller said.
But, his overarching goal of the entire running program is to create true lovers and participators of the sport for a lifetime, joining the millions of others that already do and reap the benefits of it.
“I tell the cross-country kids all the time, particularly when they’re older, ‘I want you to do your best, but what I really want is to turn you into a life-long runner,” Miller said. “They just run because they love to run. I’m proud of that.”