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Photo by: Sarah Wilson - Sam and Jesse Millson made a game out of racing each other early in their childhood.That's translated into a competitive streak that's grown with them.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013 9 years ago

Trinity Prep's distance duelers

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Chasing the Millsons
by: Steven Barnhart

Long distance runners get the daunting task of taking the grand tour and experiencing every inch a track has to offer. It can be intimidating enough to have just one competitor closely nipping at your heels meter after meter while you sweat out a tiresome and grueling two-mile race. Trinity Prep’s Sam and Jesse Millson can literally make you think twice and double your troubles.

While their game plans on race day are geared toward individual performance, there is no denying what ties them both to the sport and to each other. There are 3,200 meters that allow them to use each other as a measuring stick to see who can cross the finish line first.

At Lake Highland Preparatory School on Feb. 22, the two not only made the competition sweat, but they also made everyone else have to play catch up. Sam says that their intentions going in to the race were to take control from the sound of the starter gun and lead the first few laps. That’s exactly what they did, as they would swap first and second place repeatedly in the early goings. Along with freshmen teammate Chas Cook, they formed their own pack and set the tone for the entire event.

Part of the plan may have been to run together, but in the end the two front-runners knew they would ultimately have to duke it out. Freshman Jesse passed Sam with about 400 meters left. Jesse eventually placed first posting a time of 9:56.29, four seconds in front of his older brother. Both times were personal records.

They had trained hard for that moment under the lights. In a way, that training began before they were born. They come from a family who loves to run. It’s in their genes.

It didn’t take long for Mother Nature to take over. From the time they were kids — back to the days when stop signs determined a winner — they recall creating their own proving grounds whenever one of them thought he was improving more than the other one.

“We used to say to each other ‘yeah, I’ve been getting faster’ and the other one would be like ‘well, I’m still faster than you,’” Jesse said. “Then we would just go in the street and race.”

For the Millson brothers, track is something that runs in their blood. The long distance duo says that their interest in running can be traced back to their grandfather who used to get up every day for a morning run. Their father would eventually pick up the baton and go on to compete in the 800-meter event on his high school track team.

Then there’s this generation of Millson athletes — same last name, but different type of competitors. Jesse is known for being more of a sprinter which allows him to make energetic charges from behind, while Sam is known for getting out in front and holding a consistent pace for extended periods of time. The elder Saint says he’s not the vocal type, but Jesse admits he is more of the joker and outspoken motivator both in practice and races.

During last year’s regional cross country race, the younger sibling was coming up fast on his older counterpart but still trying to serve as a spark.

“He yelled at me [from behind] ’keep going’ and then I turned it to another gear,” said Sam. “He eventually caught up to me and we just ran together.”

Even in the midst of performing in an individual sport and sometimes being each other’s only competition, they remain selfless for one another. The two say they will inspire each other to keep giving every stride their all even when the college ranks may see them have to run different paths. To them it’s not about bragging rights around the house or who beats who. It’s just about being better in the next race.

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