One of the area’s most surprising stories last year, Miranda Miller goes out as one of the most accomplished athletes in school history.
She’s the Manteca Bulletin All-Area Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
The former gymnast with no prior track experience before her junior year is a two-time CIF State Track & Field Championships qualifier who will continue developing in the sport at CSU Bakersfield. It should be no surprise that she was also crowned the “Fittest on Campus” among female entrants at Sierra, which holds a CrossFit competition annually.
“I’m just excited to see where this takes me,” she said. “Honestly, I didn’t know what I’d get out of it but in the end, it turned out pretty alright, I think.”
The lone state qualifier out of the Manteca area in 2018, Miller earned a return trip to state by placing second in the SJS Masters Championships triple jump. She also advanced in the pole vault with a gold-medal finish, an event that took more time for her to grasp. It was during the Masters meet where she broke her own school record in the pole vault for a second straight week at 11 feet, 9 inches.
Miller also owns the school records for the triple jump (39-1 ¾) and long jump (17-11 ½). She’ll continue to compete in all three events for CSU Bakersfield.
“My background in gymnastics definitely helped in pole vault,” Miller said. “It took a couple tweaks from my coaches, and they turned out to be monumental.”
Miller did not fare as well as she had hoped in her second appearance at state. Both of her events took place at the same time during the preliminaries, so advancing was going to be difficult. She failed to hit the opening mark in the pole vault but did make the triple jump final with a top-12 mark. Miller finished in 10th place overall.
Still, Miller was thankful for the experience and even more so for the people who helped convince her to try something new. Head coach Ezequiel Ruiz and assistant Jeff Greene, both teachers on campus, and best friend Katelyn Finnicum — a hurdler on the team — were responsible for recruiting her.
A knee serious knee injury may have ended her future as a gymnast, but it also opened up a new and exciting path for Miller.
“If not for certain people pushing me, I would have never given it a shot,” Miller said. “I had always seen myself as a gymnast. Now, I am a pole vaulter, a triple jumper and long jumper and, hopefully, a heptathlete.
“It has been a good ride at Sierra High, and I can’t wait to be a Roadrunner.”