WICHITA — After witnessing the spectacle of competing in the Kansas State Track and Field Championships at Cessna Stadium as a freshman, Downs-Lakeside sprinter Rachel Miller wanted to take it to the next level.
Miller, now a sophomore and established sprinter in Class 1A, did just that Saturday in Wichita.
Weather delays eventually turned into a suspension Friday and turned into an early morning for the state’s track and field athletes. Miller was just one of 32 athletes to complete an event in the day, as 1A and 2A girls 100-meter hurdles concluded just prior to the storm’s arrival.
The preliminary results repeated in the finals.
Miller led the field by winning the prelims in 15.45 seconds, eventually running a 15.05 to earn the first gold medal of her likely prosperous career.
“It’s unbelievable,” Miller said Saturday after completing the 100 hurdles. “I’m really glad I got the opportunity to come this far and get first.”
The field included many league champions, many of which the Northern Plains League champ ran against.
It was Rosalia-Flinthills senior Lauren Doll who posed the biggest threat. The competitor, though second, was the lone girl Miller had yet to run against this year. She knew the pedigree of the defending champion but did not know the pace, sparking a fast start out of the blocks.
Miller never looked back and finished .21 seconds ahead of Doll.
“I’ve ran against just about every one of the other girls, so I didn’t know what to expect from her,” Miller said. “But I just pushed it and knew I really had to go up there because she’d be right next to me.”
The win meant a clean sweep on the season in the 100 hurdles for Miller, who also won regionals in Phillipsburg.
Just a few short hours later, she returned to the podium. With events moved to two heats running against time with the top eight placing, Miller suffered her first defeat in the 100-meter dash. The sophomore ran a 12.84, just one-one hundredths of a second from second-place Kali Weber of Victoria.
Hutchinson-Central Christian junior Raelee Ibarra won the event with a time of 12.67.
Visibly in pain with her right thigh bandaged, Miller stuck it out for an eighth-place finish in the 200.