Interview With Zac Miller

(Photo provided by Zac Miller)

First of all, how did you first start running?

Both my parents were track coaches at Edina when I was younger, my dad coached for 16 years and my mom for 8, and just being around the sport from a young age fostered a love for the sport.

What are all your personal records, including cross country?

5k: 15:58(sophomore year)

3200: 9:33(junior year)

1600: 4:18(junior year)

800: 2:00(junior year)

Do you do, or have you done, any other sports?

I competed in Nordic skiing from 8th grade until sophomore year, and was in house league basketball this winter.

What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?

My favorite race was probably Nike regionals this past cross country season. Even though I had an awful race, it was an incredible feeling when we found out that we had made it to nationals. We were all pretty bummed out before results were announced because we were pretty sure that we had gotten 3rd place and missed qualifying, and when they announced that we had placed second, it was one of the best feelings ever knowing that our season wasn't over.

Other than your own teammates, who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?

Gemechu Meskele is someone who I really enjoy racing against, he's a really tough runner. Matt Wilkinson always gives you everything he's got. Most of the lake conference guys are pretty fun to race.

Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career?

Two people who have been extremely helpful to me in my athletic career are Joey Duerr and John Davis. I ran with Joey almost every day from 8th grade to sophomore year when I was at Chaska, and he really taught me how to run hard and work hard. John Davis was instrumental in getting me healthy and running fast again during my junior year of cross country after I damaged my foot, and is instrumental in everything our team does, from training to strength work to injury prevention.

What is your favorite, or most effective workout you've done?

I really enjoy progression runs. There's no better feeling than just being able to get the legs moving quick on a long run.


(Photo provided by Zac Miller)

Since both your parents were coaches, and you've run with two prestigious high school programs, I imagine you've been a part of a variety of different training programs and philosophies. Have they been fairly similar, or have some of your coaches/parents had significantly different ideas than others?

For the most part my parents have stayed out of training, as they feel that the coaches know what they're doing. Edina has been significantly different from Chaska in terms of both distance and the workouts. At Chaska I was doing lower mileage, and the workouts were almost always race pace or a little faster. At Edina the mileage has bumped up, and while we still do race pace workouts, we also do a lot of lactic threshold and progression workouts.

What are your main goals for this upcoming track season?

The main goals are to get to the state meet and make some noise there, and to help the team win a state championship, which would be an improvement over the second place finish from last year.

As a senior, what reflections or comments do you have on your high school cross country career?

I've had the opportunity to run for two great teams with numerous great friends and teammates. During that span I've gone to four cross country state meets, and got to run at Nike Cross Nationals twice. So far, the best memories of my life have all come from either cross country or track. I'm so thankful for everything this sport has given me, and can't wait to see what it has in store for me at the next level.

Do you have any college plans?

I will be running at South Dakota State University next year.

What were some of the things that attracted you to SDSU?

Coach Dehaven has had a lot of success with Minnesota runners the past couple years, and obviously their facilities are second to none. I loved the atmosphere and overall feel of both the team and the college. I also already knew a number of guys on the team, and I feel like that should help make the transition from high school to college a lot easier, both in terms of schooling and training.

Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?

I take an ice bath the night before every race, and I've been doing that since 8th grade.

When not running miles or running on ovals, what might we find you doing?

You would probably find me playing basketball and hanging out with some guys from the cross country team, or if I'm at home I'm probably watching something on Netflix. 

Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.

I've watched every episode of Futurama at least 3 times.