Multi-sport standout Eliza Miller repeats as Valley News Dispatch Girls Athlete of the Year
Saturday, July 1, 2023 | 6:47 PM
Eliza Miller will combine her love of distance running and swimming along with a newer venture in cycle racing on the newly formed women’s triathlon team at Duquesne University.
She gave a verbal commitment to the school and to the program earlier this year and already is preparing for her collegiate athletic future this summer with miles covered in each discipline.
The Kiski Area rising senior covered a lot of miles this past school year as she again excelled in the cross country, swimming and track and field seasons highlighted by a WPIAL swim championship in the 500-yard freestyle and a WPIAL outdoor track and field title in the 800-meter run.
She recorded medals and other titles along the way.
With all of her accomplishments over the nine months of competition, Miller has been named Valley News Dispatch Female Athlete of the Year for the second time, adding to the honor earned this time last year.
“Honestly, my teammates helped me so much to have the seasons I did with all of their support,” Miller said.
“Yes, I did have individual accomplishments that I am proud to have achieved, but they were there always motivating me and helping me to stay focused so I could do my best.”
Miller started the 2022-23 year with a bang, winning several cross country races, including the Kiski Invitational (18:55.21) at Northmoreland Park, the Division I, Section 4 championship for the third time with a Northmoreland course record of 18:41.6, and the Westmoreland County Coaches Association crown in a time of 18:18.6.
Those triumphs led her to the WPIAL Class 3A championships at Cal (Pa.)’s Roadman Park. In a deep field, Miller clocked a time of 19:25.9 and placed 10th.
“My main goal for that race was to make it to states,” she said. “I knew all the girls at the top were really good. I just needed to stay in the top pack, and I was able to do that.”
That deep field from the WPIAL showed up and showed out at the PIAA championships in Hershey.
Miller finished 11th overall (19:14.0) out of 233 in the Class 3A field.
Miller returned from Hershey and jumped into the pool full time to get ready for the swim season.
She soon showed that she would again be a force in the water. The 500 freestyle school record fell, and she made her mark with two gold medals (500 free and 100 breaststroke) at the WCCA championship meet at Derry.
She also helped the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay take third.
It was soon on to the WPIAL Class 2A championships at Pitt’s Trees Pool where she was one of a select few to claim four medals.
Led by the 500 free title, she also was runner-up in the 200 individual medley to Mapletown senior Ella Menear and helped the 200 medley relay place third and the 400 free relay take fourth.
“It was amazing to stand at the top of the podium (in the 500),” Miller said. “I wasn’t as happy with my time. That was disappointing. But to win, that was so exciting.”
Miller added four more medals at states, led by a third-place finish in the 500 free and a fifth in the 200 IM.
She also helped the 200 medley relay grab eighth and the 400 free relay take seventh.
“To bring home four state medals is crazy,” Miller said. “The best part was experiencing it all with my teammates. We worked so hard together for those (relay) medals. I was so happy for all of us.”
Miller then made a quick transition to the outdoor track season which had begun about 10 days before the swim season ended.
“I didn’t really run in the winter,” Miller said. “For me, just focusing on swimming during that season is better for me. But it didn’t take long to get up to speed, maybe a week or two of easy runs into more challenging runs. I used the first couple of dual meets as thresholds.”
Again medals were placed around her neck in races throughout Western Pennsylvania.
She was golden again at the WCCA outdoor meet as she won both the 800- and 1,600-meter runs.
Miller added a win in the one-mile run at the 49th Baldwin Invitational with a season-best 5:00.56.
At WPIALs, she started out with a sixth in the 1,600 and then upped her performance level for the 800 where she grabbed WPIAL Class 3A gold in a personal-best time of 2:14.71.
“I ran just the 1,600 last year, and the 800 was kind of a surprise this year,” she said.
“I decided I wanted to run it this year, so I really focused on the race. To randomly decide I wanted to do it and then become a WPIAL champion, it’s insane actually. I didn’t expect it.”
She was faster in the 800 at states as she clocked a time of 2:10.88 to place fifth.
Miller also took 12th in the 1,600 (4:56.79). Her time was a career-best, surpassing the 4:58.82 she ran during the regular season.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
Tags: Kiski Area
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