Kiski Area’s Eliza Miller Adds a New Sport to Her Portfolio

During the summer months, cross-country runners increase their mileage, attend cross camps, and purchase new shoes to prepare for the fall cross-country season.

But not Eliza Miller.

Instead, the two-time PIAA Cross Country state qualifier of Kiski Area won the 16-year-old youth division USA Triathlon Championships in 34:39.  "I woke up one morning and decided I wanted to participate in a triathlon," Miller explained.  

The competition consisted of a 375-meter swim, 10k bike ride, and 2.5k run.  Most people would think Miller could breeze through the 2.5k run, but that was not the case.  "My legs felt wobbly and strange going into the run," said Miller.  The lactic acid build-up from the 10k bike ride did not stop Miller from making up a 40-second gap on the competitors in front to win her age group. 

 Not bad for an athlete who had only trained for the swimming and running events and only attended one cycling practice in preparation for the triathlon event. 

Head Cross Country Coach Thomas Berzonsky was thrilled to learn that Eliza had entered a triathlon competition.  "Her decision to pursue triathlon was very exciting.  We believe the cross-training will only make her better, and the training only compliments what already makes her successful."   

In 2021, Miller was a three-sport WPIAL medalist, claiming medals in cross country, swimming, and track & field.  This season Miller wants to build off of what she has already accomplished in her first two cross country seasons.  "I set my expectations higher each year and to try to beat where I was at the previous season if not better," says Miller. 

She made her season debut at the Red, White, and Blue Invitational at White Oak Park, placing 6th with a time of 18:27 in the Girls 3A race.

Athlete Profile with Eliza Miller

Favorite Course: White Oak

Cross Country Personal Best- 18:08 (Westmoreland County Championship)

Cross Country Accomplishments

2021 Westmoreland County Coaches Champion and course record holder

2021 WPIAL Section IV Champion

2021 Crimson Hawk Invitational 

Champion2021 Nike XC Northeast Regional Qualifier

2021 PIAA medalist (11th place)

2020 Gingerbread Kiski Area Invitational Champion

2020 WPIAL Section IV Champion

2X WPIAL Cross Country medalist & 2X PIAA Cross Country Qualifier

What age were you when you started running competitively?

I started competitively running when I was 10.

According to you, what is the toughest aspect of being an athlete?

Being able to overcome the fear of failure.

What is your favorite food to eat the night before a race?

Chicken Alfredo or Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Who would win in a Triathlon, Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps?

Michael Phelps

What time are you trying to achieve this Cross-Country season?

I want to run a Sub-18 5k.

When is the next triathlon competition?

September 18th at Moraine State Park.