Miller's run on the mark

Jackson) calls it a 'runner's high,'" Miller said. "After you've run so many miles, after you're done, you get this feeling of accomplishment and you feel amazing. You only get to witness it if you run. That's what motivates me and my teammates. If I'm not feeling so hot, I know my teammates are going to run, so you just get up and do it. You're not only benefitting yourself, but you're benefitting the team."

Miller had high praise for her coaches Krista Linenberger, Derek Algrim and Adam Casillias.

"They put the plan together, the workouts that we do, the miles we run," Miller said.

While having won four races throughout the regular season, and only once out of the top 5 (a 20th individual finish at the 6-state Rim Rock Classic), prior to claiming individual titles at the WAC and regionals, Miller raised the bar with her spectacular finish at the state meet.

It was there, at the midway point of the 2.5 mile layout, that she found herself in about 30th position. Over the next mile to mile and a half, she bypassed all but one runner in claiming the runner-up spot to Shawnee Mission West All-American Alli Cash.

"I had my eye on a Blue Valley Northwest runner, and I caught her," Miller recalled. "I then saw Deidre Walker (a sophomore and top runner). And then I saw Alaina (Manhattan's Schroeder). I thought, 'man, almighty!' There's a pack of girls behind me, I better keep pushing. I just tried to kick it in and go as hard as I could to the finish line."

Miller edged the Manhattan standout by a mere 0:06.0 seconds (15:10.2 to 15:10.8) to claim the runner-up medal and provide the spark that led her team to its best finish in history.

"I didn't realize at first where I had finished," Miller confessed. "Not until Kayla (Doll) finished and came up and gave me a hug and said, 'You got 2nd!' It was an amazing feeling."

Then, it was time to wait for the team standings to be compiled and nearly 30 minutes after the race had finished, Miller and her teammates still were unsure of their finish.

"Then, we were watching the other awards and somebody came and told us coach Linenberger wanted to talk to us," Miller said. "So we went back, and she started talking like maybe we had gotten 4th or 7th or something. And then she said 2nd, and it's like, 'Holy cow!' Some were crying. Me and Kayla were laughing. It was just a joyous feeling to know we had accomplished one of our goals."

With six of their top seven runners returning for 2013, the Lady Buffs will re-set their goals, fully aware of the work that lies ahead.

"We're shooting for that next step," Miller said. "But you can't just sit back and say, 'We've got this.' You can't say that. Everyone else is working hard, too. Everyone has the same goals. The important part is how are you gonna reach it."