By Marquis Cooley | Reporter
Aaliyah Miller wasn’t always a runner. According to the McKinney senior, if it wasn’t for a teammate on her soccer team talking her into running summer track, she may have never realized her passion for the sport.
“It’s kind of funky how I fell into it, but I think I just fell in love with the sport because it was just something I looked forward to every summer,” Miller said. “We didn’t really go on many family vacations, but track just gives you the same family atmosphere … Traveling together just became really a part of my life that I really loved and looked forward to.”
Fast-forward and now Miller is running for Baylor University and is the first woman in school history to win multiple Big 12 Women’s Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week honors.
“Feels really cool to have that feat,” Miller said. “I wasn’t really looking for that initially, but to see meet after meet for something else to come up, it’s pretty cool to have all together.”
Earlier this season in the Corky Classic at the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center in Lubbock, Miller broke the 14-year-old 1,000-meter indoor record to go along with the school 800-meter indoor record she earned her freshman year. Miller said although the accolades and records are special, she isn’t surprised when she earns them.
“Confidence is really big in how you perform,” Miller said. “If you don’t believe that you can do it, it’s going to show. It’s all in your mind too, as much as the work we put in on our legs, so it’s good to come into the meet with a good mindset and surround yourself with people who support your goals and support what you want to accomplish.”
Although she leads the Big 12 in the 1,000-meter, 800-meter, 600-yard and is part of the 4×400-meter relay which is currently second in the conference, Miller said she’s not satisfied yet. She has a drive to do something greater than what she has already accomplished.
“The sky’s the limit with what you can do in track,” Miller said. “I don’t feel like I’ve reached my potential just quite yet, so that’s what motivates me every day. Like have and execute a great season, a great race and be a national contender that is up there with some of the fast girls.”
Miller said a great season for her would result in making the NCAA final, and she has her sights on winning a title.
“Getting an NCAA title is definitely at the top of that,” Miller said. “It’s something I think about all the time, and for it all to come together on the day, it would be so special.”
However, that’s not the only thing Miller is striving for this season. The senior is aiming to hit the Olympic Trials mark and hopes to compete for team USA in this year’s Olympics.
“It would just mean everything. I think there would just be so much emotion just overcome. I mean it’s the hardest team to make. There’s only three spots, so it’s not going to be easy at all,” Miller said. “If I’m on that day, then I’m gonna go for it. To make the Olympic team, that would just be so special.”
While the Olympics and NCAA final is off in the distant future, right now she’s looking to break her 800-meter record at the Iowa Classic Saturday. Miller said it’s her fifth time she’s been to this competition, and she loves the atmosphere.
“I feel like the energy that’s up there, it’s just so intense,” Miller said. “It’s like the goal is to run something fast. You always have a pacer, and being in the A-heat, there’s just a lot of eyes looking up on you. I love racing on that track.”