Miller ready to make impact as sophomore

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Lily Miller helps her team to a second-place finish in the varsity girl’s 4 x 400 Meter Relay. Miller is also a black belt in karate. (Kathy Canady Photo)

Lily Miller helps her team to a second-place finish in the varsity girl’s 4 x 400 Meter Relay. Miller is also a black belt in karate. (Kathy Canady Photo)

By TAYLOR GRAFFT

Lily Miller has already proven to be a fierce competitor on the track for the Liberty Hill Panthers despite being an underclassman. Now, in her second year on the track team the sophomore is ready to prove she has what it takes to get to the next level.

“This year I feel more confident now that I know what to expect,” Miller said. “Last year I was intimidated by some of the upperclassmen, but as they showed me where to go and what to do, I felt more comfortable during meets and around my older teammates.”

Miller doesn’t have much downtime during a meet because she competes in three different events—the 200 Meter Dash, the 4 x 800 Meter Relay, and the Mile Relay.

“My favorite would have to be the 200 Meter Dash because to me it is the perfect distance of sprinting—not too long or too short,” Miller said.

While Miller might intimidate her opponents on the track this season, they certainly won’t want to cross her off the track either.

That’s because Miller earned a black belt at the age of thirteen at Texas Black Belt Karate in Liberty Hill and had previously competed in martial arts for seven years.

While Miller doesn’t practice martial arts anymore because of her busy track and school schedule, she does hope to return to the sport in the future.

“I haven’t had much time to do (martial arts) since right now my main priorities are track and my school work, but hopefully I can continue with it later on in the future,” Miller said.

Miller was initially introduced to martial arts after sitting in on a class her brother was taking. A year later she decided to join herself and compete in tournaments all across the state.

She also found out that she was pretty good at it too. Miller received several first-place trophies and even made it to the state tournament where she finished in third place.

“In the future, I hope I will be able to learn different types of martial arts like ju-jitsu, Kung fu, etc.,” Miller said. “Being in martial arts has taught me a lot about good morals and definitely patience. It was a big part of my life that I hope to come back to and learn even more from it.”

Miller’s fire for competition comes from her family. Both her parents competed in track and field, but unlike their daughter were distance runners.

“Both my mom and dad competed in track, but they were long distance runners and I am the complete opposite,” Miller said. “At first (joined the track team) just to try new things and have fun, but after my first meet I started to love the sport.”

Miller’s first meet was in the seventh grade and even since then she’s been consistently improving, especially with the help of her coaches.

“Coach (Monica) Miller and (Gretchen) Peterson are probably the best coaches I’ve ever had,” Miller said. “They care about every single one of us and are very fair with their decisions. They always push me to keep going and to try new things and it has definitely made me a better runner for it.”

Being successful at track is not easy; it takes hard work, dedication, and a competitive nature. Miller says that having a positive attitude is essential to her success.

“The most important quality to me is having a positive attitude,” Millers said. “No matter what happens, win or lose, to always keep your head up because as long as you know that you have tried your hardest then there really is nothing to worry about.”

With that success comes hardships and constant battles to keep moving forward no matter what. “The hardest thing about competing in track is having the will to not give up,” Miller said. “There is always a point to where you think you can’t keep going, but you know in your head that you have to, and when you do (succeed) it is really worth it.”

One of the factors that has helped Miller continue to move forward with her track career is the love and support from her friends and family.

“My close family and friends have been a huge support to me through my track & field career; always cheering me on and lifting me up when I feel like I want to quit,” Miller said. “I am so lucky to have people in my life that care about me and I appreciate them so much. I have them to thank for all my accomplishments.”

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