Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Miller stays with coach DeGrado

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 6/11/2014

Ottawa High School senior Aaron Miller was sold on Vince DeGrado being able to turn him into a Division I middle distance runner.

The only question was where he would be coaching.

Ottawa High School senior Aaron Miller was sold on Vince DeGrado being able to turn him into a Division I middle distance runner.

The only question was where he would be coaching.

“I wanted to [sign] early,” Miller said. “But the coach might have been leaving. I had to wait.”

DeGrado stayed at Allen County Community College and Miller signed this week with Red Devils to run track.

“Finally ... it was great,” Miller said. “I don’t have to worry about anything.”

DeGrado won a couple of national championships while coaching at Cowley County Community College.

He coached several 800-meter All-Americans.

“He definitely has 800 runners coming in every year that are good,” Miller said. “His main focus is distance. He knows what he is doing.”

Miller switched from sprinting to middle distance in his senior season.

Miller is still learning how to run the 800 race and expects to make improvements under his coaching.

“He took a guy from 1:58 to 1:53 this year,” Miller said. “Kansas is interested in him. He has done a really good job with mid-distance guys.”

Miller’s fastest time this season was 1:59 and qualified for the state track meet. He finished 12th in the 4A race.

His goal is to secure a Division I offer following his junior college stint.

“I am not sure if I will stay for one or two years,” Miller said. “I had some solid Division I offers, but the money was not there. At ACCC, I don’t have to pay for anything. It is a huge relief.”

The competition will be stiff. The junior college ranks has solid athletes, many from foreign countries, plus they compete against NCAA Division I and II schools all the time.

Miller said that was big selling point, plus he is close enough to home where his family can watch him compete.

“We will run at the KU Relays,” he said.

DeGrado’s plans to have Miller also compete in the 400 race. Miller said the speed work will help him in the long run.

“He can get me to 1:56 indoor and see what how far in outdoor,” Miller said. “I need to stay healthy.”

This summer, Miller will run on a 3,200 relay team.

“They think they have a shot winning nationals,” he said. “I will run those three meets with them. That should help me out for college.”

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