Macy Miller of Fairbanks (top photo) competes in the Division III state 100 meter finals at Westerville North. Miller finished eighth in the event on Saturday afternoon. In the bottom photo, FHS’ Rachel Hoover (right) runs during the 1600 event. Hoover also competed in the state 800. (Journal-Tribune photos by Tim Miller)
As a sophomore, Fairbanks High School’s Macy Miller has already established quite a track and field resume.
She was the first athlete in known FHS history to qualify for the state meet in four individual events.
At the end of the day on Saturday, she earned a medal in three of those competitions.
The biggest highlight for Miller at Westerville North’s Division III state meet came Friday morning.
That’s when she came from the ranks of the underdog and placed second in the high jump competition.
Her effort of 5-5 placed her as the runner-up to Springfield Catholic Central’s Mallory Mullen.
Miller followed that on Friday by advancing to the finals of the 100 meter hurdles.
She did not qualify for the 300 hurdle finals.
The Lady Panther standout began Saturday with a fifth-place finish in the long jump.
She leaped 16-11, which was much better than her regional mark of 16-2.75.
“It wasn’t my personal record (17-4), but I was pretty proud of my jump,” said Miller.
Miller had tweaked the quad of her left leg during competition on Friday.
However, she said it felt fine the following day.”
“I iced my quad a lot and stretched it Friday night,” she said.
“It felt OK for the long jump.”
Miller earned her second trip to the awards podium for her fifth-place finish.
All that was left was the finals of the 100 hurdles.
“It wasn’t my best race,” she said after her eighth-place finish of 16.15.
That was slower than her regional time of 15.29 and Friday’s prelim effort of 15.30.
“I could have gotten out of the blocks better and I hit one of the hurdles,” she said.
Still, the sophomore stood at the podium for the third time during her first-ever state meet.
She earned All-Ohio honors in each event.
The 2021 campaign was her first high school track and field season, since the 2020 season was wiped out for all athletes due to COVID-19.
Miller said it’s now time to take it easy for a spell.
“I’m going to let my quad completely heal,” she said.
Fairbanks was also represented in two additional finals events on Saturday.
Freshman Rachel Hoover competed in the 1600 and 800 events.
She placed just one spot out of the awards stand with a ninth-place (out of 18 runners) effort in the 1600.
Her time was 5:12.28.
That was higher than her regional clocking of 5:08.35
“I had an awful race,” she said.
“I really don’t like to run in hot (upper 80s) weather.”
Hoover remained in seventh and/or eighth-place for three of the four laps.
She slipped back to ninth midway through the final lap.
Hoover appeared to be gassed when she toured the two laps of the 800.
She was the final runner in the 18-athlete field to cross the finish line with a time of 2:30.42.
Her regional effort was 2:19.97.
Mount Gilead’s Allison Johnson, who won the state title two years ago, once again crossed the finish line in first place.
Her time of 2:08.81 set a new girls D-III state record and bested her 2019 first-place finish by nearly two seconds.
The 2021 campaign marked Hoover’s first track-and-field season.
She couldn’t compete as a seventh-grader due to a broken ankle.
Her eighth-grade season was wiped out by the coronavirus.
Hoover didn’t start out to be a distance runner.
“I actually began as a sprinter,” she said. “I really had to learn how to be a distance runner this year.”
The lessons, however, came quickly as she qualified for both the state cross-country and track meets as a freshman.
“Being able to run in both state meets this year was a really big experience for me,” she said.