Almost always a front runner, Miller pushed the pace hard in the NCAA 800. Moad Zahfi of Texas Tech who had run the 3rd-fastest time in collegiate history of 1:43.69 earlier in the season, caught Miller as well as Mississippi State's Navasky Anderson. Miller settled for 3rd in an impressive 1:45.09. Texas Tech graduate student and Moroccan Zahfi was 1st in 1:44.49 for coach Jon Murray, a Carthage native and Carthage High School grad. Jamaican Anderson 2nd in 1:45.02. Miller split 45.02 for the 4x400 as the Aggies placed 5th.
While not winning the NCAA title could have deflated the always high goal-setting Miller and unraveled him heading to the USA Championships, it didn't.
In the first round of the 800 at USA's Miller did not lead at 400-meters and was happy to sit back and finish strong, taking 2nd to 2019 World Outdoors 4th-placer and 2022 World Indoors 3rd-placer Bryce Hoppel, the Texas native and former University of Kansas standout. In Semifinal #2 of 2, Miller led at the halfway mark clocking 52.17 and held on for the win in 1:46.20, with Hoppel and 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist Clayton Murphy right behind to auto-advance to the finals.
Miller toed the line in the final with seven other men, all but one who were post-collegiate/professionals. Miller led at 400-meters in 51.54-seconds. The field eventually closed the gap late on the backstretch and Hoppel moved to the lead with 200-meters left. Jonah Koech passed Miller on the curve but as Miller came off the final turn, moved out to lane two to try to keep pace and secure a Team USA spot with a top-3 finish. Clayton Murphy and others were making up ground. Miller somehow came up with the strength to hold strong and when he couldn't hold up any longer, dove across the finish with Murphy right next to him.
Miller drug himself off Hayward Field track and watched the video board, waiting for the results, hoping his effort was good enough to make the current dream come true. Miller finished in 1:45.19. His last gasp lunge had held up. He edged Olympic medalist Murphy by 4/100ths of a second, who finished in 1:45.23. Miller had secured his spot on Team USA. He'll represent his country and compete on the world stage for the first time back at Hayward Field in Eugene.
It's been a long journey for Miller, whose mother Angela ran track, and father Derrick played football at Mizzou. Big brother DJ plays football at Iowa State, while little sister and grandma are his two biggest fans. Miller has been tearing up tracks all over the country while competing as a youth from grade school thru high school for his mom, whom he calls coach at practice.
Now Miller and the family will be in Oregon for his first opportunity to compete in a USA uniform. Although, you could say he did that for years with the youth club Ultimate Speed Academy. The team sports uniforms abbreviating the club's name to USA, often in similar fashion as USA Track and Field used on previous uniforms.
Miller will have another cheerleader at the meet who knows what he's going thru. Miller and fellow Texas A&M sophomore Athing Mu recently went public with their relationship. Mu won the women's 800-meter Olympic gold medal last year after her freshman season in College Station. She signed with Nike before the Olympic Trials but still trains in college station and is a student at Texas A&M.