Miller went from relative unknown to state champion in a matter of just a little over a year. He was strong on the cross country trails, winning two PIAA District 3 1A titles. This past fall, he placed second at states at Hershey. He proved to be a great track runner, too. He was fourth at indoor states in the 3,000 meters.
Outdoors, he ran a PA#1/US#15 time of 6:07.42 in the 2K steeplechase. He qualified and ran at the Penn Relays in the 3K. He ran 9:19.65 to win the PIAA state title in the 3,200 meters at Shippensburg.
READ MORE: After Building An XC Program By Himself, Upper Dauphin's Brenden Miller Chases A State Title (By Timothy Johnson)
Miller answered some questions for PennTrackXC, reflecting on his career.
What was your most memorable race/competition?
The Kevin Dare Indoor 3k was a really memorable race for me, I will always remember it. It felt so good to run a PR (converted from 3200) in January, knowing I had so much more room to improve.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
The LHU High School Invitational was traditionally one of my tougher races each and every season. I've never won a 3200m at that invite. Guys like Quinn Serfass and Isaac Davis always kept that meet really competitive and I enjoyed that.
Then this year, I obviously faced some stiff competition at the Penn Relays and New Balance Indoor Nationals. Those races were great to keep me humbled, and I believe gave me a good precursor as to how college races will be.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
Winning states was a big deal to me. It helped me prove to myself that all the time spent out on the roads and trails was worth it. But I felt really satisfied with my Penn Relays 3k earlier in the season. It was a massive PR, and just getting the chance to race with those guys was amazing. So I think that will go down as one of my accomplishments that stands out.
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
I would run XC my freshman year, not starting to run cross until my junior year is a huge regret I have. It's such a different sport from track, and I've come to love them both in their own ways. But missing out on those two falls of competition is something I'll never be able to relive.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
Coming from a school where running isn't a big sport is tough. Sometimes I feel like people believe running isn't a real sport like football or basketball, simply because they haven't been exposed to it (you wouldn't believe how many people asked me what XC was). But it made me tougher and helped me not to care what people think of me all the time. I am very grateful for what my community has done for me. They've always supported me, and helped provide me with an awesome area to train the last few years.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss running with my team in the spring. Us going to districts and medaling was one of my favorite memories. We always had a lot of fun at practice and going to meets. It makes me really excited to join another team at SFU this fall.
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
As cliche as it sounds, trust the process. You won't get great over night. Running takes years of hard work for your full potential to truly arise. So don't get frustrated if you aren't hitting the times you want freshman, sophomore, or even junior year. Good things take time and hard work, especially in running.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
My coach, Clayton Bouchard has had massive influences on my life and my running. He's always pushed me to succeed, and watching him run crazy ultra-marathons made me feel like I could do anything I can set my mind towards.
What are your post-high school plans?
I'm heading to Saint Francis University in Loretto this fall. I'm super excited to get up there and train with those guys. I really feel it will take me to the next level. I'll be majoring in Environmental Engineering. I hope to one day be a high school xc and track coach somewhere.