Miller ready to erase the heartache of last season’s finale

Miller ready to erase the heartache of last season’s finale
Dave Mast

Logan Miller's 2023 season ended abruptly at districts, where he failed to advance to regionals as a sophomore. He vows to use that experience to better his success this year.


Last year coming into the Newcomerstown Division III track and field district meet, Hiland sophomore Logan Miller had high hopes and big expectations.

With the top qualifying throw, he felt he needed to at least grab one of the top four spots to advance to regional competition.

But instead of a celebration, he was left with heartache when he put up subpar numbers to what he was used to firing off. He ended up placing sixth, his hopes of reaching the regional tournament gone.

“That was a very disappointing moment in my career, and it was a difficult time,” Miller said. “I couldn’t believe how poorly I threw on that day. I knew all I had to do was throw up to my potential and I’d move on.”

That moment could have been one of bitter disappointment for Miller, who now is in his junior year at Hiland, and it did sting in the worst possible way, but rather than dwell on the result, he has used it to spur himself to work even harder.

Despite being a part of Hiland’s march to the state finals in this year’s Div. IV basketball season, where Miller played a critical bench role who inspired teammates and was an absolute fan favorite, he never stopped thinking about what he believes will be a special spring campaign in track and field.

“I’ve been hitting the weight room hard and talking to coach about throwing a little extra right after school, before basketball practice,” Miller said. “I want to get as much work in as possible now so it pays off in the end.”

Hiland throwing coach Austin Kaufman said there is no limit to what Miller is capable of, including breaking the school shot record later this season.

Last year he too had high hopes for Miller that went unfulfilled, but Miller said he isn’t going to let his coach down this season.

That begins in the weight room, where Miller admitted he didn’t do as much as he could have last year to better himself.

“I just didn’t lift enough last year,” Miller said. “I’ve been lifting like crazy this year, and it has become a humongous part of my workouts.”

He also has been attending throwing camps and picking up key pointers from a variety of knowledgeable coaches, and all of that is leading him toward what he believes will be retribution for last year’s near miss.

“I had some nice moments last year, but I know I have so much more in me,” Miller said. “I am not letting what happened last year take me down again.”

In camps this season, Miller has already been pushing 50 feet, a far cry from his 41-06 effort that left him on the outside at districts last season.

He said regionals this year is a must with a shot at state lurking in the back of his mind. He said 50 feet is simply a starting point, expressing his desire to push beyond 56 feet as the year progresses, a distance that would plant him firmly in the chase for a podium spot at the Div. III state meet.

He said those are his goals, as well as improving his performance in the discus, another sport where he feels confident he can gain ground as he learns to hone his technique.

“I struggled with that last year, but I believe that I can throw so much farther than I did last year,” Miller said of the discus. “The techniques aren’t all that different, but the lifting techniques in the weight room and learning how to really explode with each throw and gain better balance is going to be the key to getting better in the discus. I think I can gain so much power and really get a lot better there.”

Even as a sophomore last year, Miller was battling seasoned seniors on his shot throws, and he believes last year’s experience only made him more prepared to face the rigors this year.

Miller began throwing in middle school, where Kaufman told him he was one of the best middle school throwers he has seen come through the system.

That inspired Miller to devote himself to getting better at the sport, even though at the time he was still very committed to basketball.

“Basketball was in my heart, but last year I didn’t get a lot of playing time, so I realized throwing might be my best opportunity to prove myself,” Miller said. “It was the best decision I ever made. I like where I’m headed, but I still know I have a lot of work to do to get to where I want to get to this season and going into my senior year.”

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