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Bears’ Miller shows great range on the track

Juneau-Douglas athlete hopes to run track, XC in college

Posted: April 10, 2011 - 9:53pm

Crimson Bears co-captain Jesse Miller considers the long jump to be his strongest event. But the junior shows great versatility, competing in both middle distance and sprints for the Juneau-Douglas track team.

“My favorite event is the long jump, for sure,” Miller said. “I explored it for a while last year, and then I got really good. So I decided to specialize in it, and I got to go to state.

“That’s my main event, but I also do the 800(-meter run), the 400, the 200, and sometimes I do the 100,” he continued. “I usually run the relays, too.”

Miller, who also runs cross-country and plays basketball at JDHS, finished 20th overall in this year’s cross-country state competition, but a broken arm forced the 5-foot-11 shooting guard to sit out most of the basketball season. He also has a passion for math and, in his free time, tries to stay active outdoors.

Talk about the differences between cross-country and track.

“I think track has a little bit more of a stressful atmosphere. You have to check into your events on time and you have to make sure you know your schedule. Cross-country is more relaxed because you’re with your teammates warming up for the same race. There’s more of a sense of unity with cross-country. With track, you’re pretty much on your own a lot of the time.”

What do you like to do in your free time when you’re not playing sports?

“Most of the time I’m on my longboard, skiing or chilling with my friends. In the summer, when I’m not running, I’m sometimes jet-skiing. My main hobbies are just being in the outdoors and staying active. I like to stay healthy. I do it for my well-being, but it’s also just fun.

What are your academic interests?

“I’ve always thought of myself as a math person, but my (literature) teachers say I’m strong in my writing, too. Math is definitely my forte, though. I like calculus because it really pushes me and challenges me. For me, working with numbers is easier than reading textbooks or learning about history or science.”

What’s your experience been like having Mr. (Steve) Potter as a teacher and a coach?

“It’s funny how little he changes between class and coaching. Though, when I’m in class, he’ll joke about practice or games, and it’s more of a fun atmosphere. But once we’re on the court, it’s all about basketball, and we don’t really talk about class.”

Plans for after high school?

“I really want to run cross-country and track in college, and I’ve been looking at some schools on the West Coast. It would be nice to try and compete at the varsity level even if it was at a smaller school. I would most likely do something with math, and I’ve also been thinking about the field of engineering.”

Are there any runners that you look up to for inspiration?

“I look up to my senior teammates. When I was a freshman, I would try my best to impress the seniors because I wanted to show them what the future of the program looked like. Also, Steve Prefontaine is kind of a hero of mine.”

What are your expectations for this year’s team?

“I think we have a really strong team this year, especially in the long distance, the jumps and the sprints. I’m hoping we’ll take a good number of athletes up to state and show them that Southeast is bringing it on.”

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