Crawfordsville’s Ryan Miller has been a consistent runner of the Crawfordsville boys cross country program ever since he broke in as a freshman four years ago. Fast forward those four years and now he’s one of the most decorated and accomplished runners to come through the program. This past fall Miller guided the talented Athenian boys to another county and Sagamore Conference title while also helping them advance as a team to the Regional. Personally Miller just missed out on qualifying for the state finals by just a few spots and saw his XC career come to an end.
Miller has never been one to take all of the credit for himself, he’s been surrounded by a great group of teammates over the years. Of all of the races over his career, he notes that one in particular stands our as one he’ll remember the most.
“Over the late few years I have been blessed to have a team that has helped lead me to many success,” Miller said. “I think though if I had to choose one race in particular that made me feel the most proud, I would have to say this years Sectional race. It might not have been a PR or my record race but it was one I can truly say I gave my all to and pushed myself as hard as I could. What made it even better was it helped me and my team place 4th overall and advance to regionals to race are last race all together.”
Team success has always been at the forefront of Miller’s mind and this season he knew this group could accomplish great things. It was a season to remember and Miller got to end it on a high note. For his accomplishments Miller for the second straight season is the Journal Review Boys Runner of the Year.
This season also saw the end of a 10-year run for Cville coach Megan Craig. While Craig has been there for all four years of Miller’s career, the relationship that the two have developed goes back way longer than that.
“I have worked with Ryan since he started as a member of the elementary running club,” Craig said. “We were taking a group of HS runners to participate in a USATF event at Ball State, and he wanted to come along. I remember the small statured little boy standing among the high school runners beaming ear to ear, excited at the opportunity to be there. Watching him that day, nervous but confident and poised, I knew that he had something that set him apart. 8 years later, here we are. He has been such a joy to work with.”
The feeling from Miller is mutual as he’s constantly said Craig’s the best coach he’s ever had.
“Coach Craig is like no Coach I have ever had before,” he said. “I told her this but I hope to someday be able to coach a team and become as successful as she has. The best part about having her as a coach is how close she brought everyone. Every family has glue holding them together and she is our team’s glue. She only wants what’s best for us, and without her our team wouldn’t be a team. Coach being so willing to do anything for us and even still reach out and support us in other sports and clubs even after she has moved onto a new job is what truly makes her not just our coach, but also family.”
For Craig she has seen the amount of time and effort that Miller has put into the program even before reaching the high school level. Since arriving as a freshman with the Athenians that determination has grown further and it’s safe to say that all of the hard work has paid off for Miller.
“Having the success that Ryan has achieved requires an immense amount of training,” Craig said. From a young age he has been dedicated to making himself a better runner. The component of his success that I am amazed by is his ability to continue to stay passionate year after year. Ryan has been able to find the balance that it takes to avoid burnout and fatigue. He has a maturity about him that allows him to recognize the importance of the training but also the importance of enjoying the process and the opportunities that running has afforded him. It’s an easy sport to get burned out and succumb to the thoughts that prohibit a runner from reaching their goals, but Ryan found a way to recognize the ebb and flow of running and stay focused.”
Even though all the achievements that Miller has racked up in his Athenian career, the success on the XC course isn’t really what he wants to be remembered for. His team-first mentality and wanting the younger runners to succeed has always been at the fore-front of his mind.
“If there was one thing I hope people remember me for as a runner, I don’t want it to just be for the records and times,” he said. “I hope that I was able to set a good example for younger runners to look up to and want to be like. I hope that people can say that while I was a very good runner I also was a really good human and wanted nothing but good for everyone around him.”