As a senior on the West Orange High track and cross-country team, Nicholas Miller is a long distance runner who has been a consistent anchor for his team in the last four years. Recently, he finished in second place in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races at the Class 4A regionals held Saturday, April 27, at Winter Park High.
When — and how — did you first get into running?
I’m from up north (Illinois), so I first started running — I had a club team up there — when I was roughly 6. Then, I was a soccer player and also hockey, but then running just became my thing.
What was it about running that drew you to it?
You can always get better, and you can quantitatively figure that out. In soccer, it was hard to tell if you were getting better at all — like maybe you score more goals, but if you were a defender like me, you didn’t really know. Plus, for later on, I was looking at college — I could see myself running and getting a scholarship.
When you’re running in these longer races, what goes through your head?
Definitely the 3,200 is a tough event for me — I’ll do it, but it’s not my favorite. I’m running it, and then the first mile is always pretty easy, because it’s not as fast as we normally go, so it just feels like we are chilling. But once I hit that fifth lap, it’s just complete downhill from there — you feel like you’re just going to throw up. But then the guys start picking up the pace and then you start falling off, but you try to hold it and then the last lap is like a sprint. It’s just holding on.
What is the most challenging aspect of the sport for you?
I feel like the meets are honestly the easier parts of running, because on those days we don’t run that many miles. But on a normal day, at practice, we’ll run 10 miles or depending on what part of the season, earlier on, we will run more. On the hard days, we will be doing really fast-paced and multiple reps, and honestly, sometimes my head will be throbbing, and it’s just bad.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I’m going to be running track and then hopefully cross country at college. I’m going to be signing for Georgia Tech. I wanted to go to a school that has a big focus on engineering — which they definitely have there — and they also have a really good running team. They’re D1, so it was something that I’d have to work toward — I didn’t want to go somewhere where I’d be the fastest. They had the best of both worlds.
When you’re not running or doing homework, what do you like doing in your spare time?
On the weekends, I sometimes ref — I’m a soccer referee — but most of the other times, I’m just trying to hang out with my friends. I like bowling and the movies.