Kiski Area 3-sport star Eliza Miller 3-peats as Valley News Dispatch girls athlete of the year

Saturday, June 29, 2024 | 11:01 AM

Reflecting on her time at Kiski Area brought a realization of the rapid pace the high school years went by for Eliza Miller.

“Everyone always tells you that it’s going to go by fast, but you really don’t believe it until you’re actually graduating,” Miller said. “You look back and say, ‘Wow, that really did go fast.’”

Opponents could say the same thing about Miller as they chased her in whatever sport she was excelling at over the last four years.

Miller’s senior year with the Cavaliers brought a trip to states in three sports once again, a repeat title in the WPIAL 800-meter run and a WPIAL swimming championship in the 400 freestyle relay.

Those accolades put a nice bow on her career, and for the third consecutive year, Miller is the Valley News Dispatch girls athlete of the year.

Miller credited her family for her drive to excel.

“My family is my biggest motivator,” Miller said. “They are all into athletics and then there’s my love for sports. There’s always the challenge of seeing what you can do to get better.”

Miller started her scholastic sports year by running cross country. She said cross country is not her main sport, but she’s done it every year of high school and fared well.

She finished fourth in the WPIAL Class 3A championship and seventh at the PIAA meet to earn her third consecutive state medal.

“I think my senior year panned out pretty well,” Miller said. “I placed the highest I’ve ever placed at states (in cross country), so I was pretty happy with it overall.”

Then came swimming in the winter, where Miller put together another strong year. That was highlighted by helping the 400 freestyle relay team win the WPIAL Class 3A title.

“It was really amazing to have our relay team come out on top (at WPIALs),” Miller said. “That hasn’t happened at Kiski in years, so that was really nice to see. It’s a big confidence boost for Kiski (swimming) overall.”

Along with the win in the 400 relay, she helped the 200 freestyle relay earn a runner-up finish, was second in the 500 freestyle and third in the 200 freestyle.

At states, the results were similar: She was third in the 200 freestyle, third in the 500 freestyle and helped Kiski finish second in the 400 free relay.

Between WPIALs and states, she earned eight medals.

“For swimming, I could not have asked for a better season,” Miller said. “Everything worked out so perfectly. Leading up to the state meet, I was a little worried because I was swimming a little tired, but my training paid off and I did so well. I couldn’t have been happier.”

Miller’s repeat win in the 800-meter run almost didn’t happen because she contemplated skipping track season but ultimately opted to commit to it.

She also scored a runner-up finish in the 1,600-meter run. At states, she took 19th in the 1,600 and 21st in the 800.

“It didn’t go as well as I would have liked at states,” Miller said. “I kind of blew up, but I’m happy I went through with it for my last high school sport. I would’ve liked to have done better at states, but it is what it is. But to get the 800 (at WPIALs) and be a repeat champ was really exciting.”

Miller plans to take some time in the summer to recharge before heading to Duquesne, where she’ll be a member of the Dukes’ newly formed triathlon team.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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