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Ashland's Miller takes running in stride

This is a big week for Bryce Miller. The Ashland senior signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to attend Missouri-Kansas City, an NCAA Division I university, where he will run cross country and distance events on the track. On Thursday, he ...

Bryce Miller
Ashland's Bryce Miller hits his stride at the start of the first heat of the 400-meter race Thursday, May 2, 2013, at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth. The senior signed a letter of intent to attend Division I Missouri-Kansas City on Wednesday. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

This is a big week for Bryce Miller.

The Ashland senior signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to attend

Missouri-Kansas City, an NCAA Division I university, where he will run cross country and distance events on the track.

On Thursday, he and his teammates made it out of Ashland -- where a May storm dropped a foot-plus of slushy snow earlier in the day -- to compete in their first outdoor meet of the season at Public Schools Stadium in Duluth.

Today, he's on his way to St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., to run in Wisconsin's top competition before the state meet, and Sunday he will be one of just four Division 2 students to be awarded the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Award in a ceremony in Wausau, Wis.

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It could be a big next month as well for Miller. He's a contender in the Division 2 state meet in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. He finished fifth in 2012 in the mile, running a fast 4:19-plus, and sixth in the two-mile in under 9:30.

"I definitely want to get my times a lot faster," said Miller, who also was sixth at last fall's state cross country meet. "My goal for the state meet is to get my mile down to 4:10, and that would break the Division 2 record."

It's been difficult for Miller to approach that time thus far as all the Oredockers' meets have been indoors until Thursday's Lake Superior Conference dual meet. And since he is competing in the longer races today, he opted to run in only the 400 and a leg of the 1,600 relay at PSS. He placed second in his 400 heat in 54.3 seconds.

He won't run those events at the sectional meet but might tackle an intermediate distance.

"He wants to qualify in the 800, mile and the two-mile," Ashland coach Dan Livingston said. "And with the two-mile being run on day one (of the state meet), it would OK with him to do that."

Miller, who chose Kansas City over Eastern Michigan, will concentrate on the longer distances in college. He said distance coach James Butler's philosophy won him over.

"I really agreed with what the coach had to say about training and strategies," he said. "He's customizing training to how you feel -- checking in with you a lot and seeing how you are doing -- rather than throwing miles at you that either you can do or you can't."

Livingston says college will present a good challenge for Miller, whose main LSC competition comes from Proctor senior Matt Welch.

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"I'm excited to see how he will do at the next level," Livingston said. "He won't be out front running -- he has to compete with the big dogs now."

Unless plans change, Miller said he would like to study radiology in Kansas City. Considering the award he is receiving combines academic and athletic prowess, Livingston knows Miller will be able to handle his studies.

"He excels not only on the track, but in the classroom and in community service as well," Livingston said. "He's an all-around good guy."

Related Topics: ASHLAND COUNTY
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