The Harlan cross county program isn’t the powerhouse it was in the 1980s when Leo Miller was leading the Dragons to multiple regional titles and his son, Will, was among the star runners, but the third generation of Millers involved in HHS cross country is keeping the tradition alive.
Mason Miller, a junior running for Harlan High School, hasn’t enjoyed the same team success as his father but will break a family and school record on Saturday when he competes in the state cross country meet in Lexington. It will be the fourth straight trip to the state meet for Miller, breaking a record he had previously shared with his father and one of his father’s teammates, John Mink.
Miller still runs for Harlan, but he was accepted to the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science and attends school there on the campus of Western Kentucky University.
“He has gotten faster despite having to train on his own while adjusting to college life,” said Will Miller, who now handles most of the coaching duties for the program his father started in 1984. “I wasn’t sure he would continue to compete, but he ran his season best at the regional meet. I don’t want to pressure him to recapture my glory days. I want him to feel in control of his life. He seems happy and that is good enough for a grandfather and dad. And a trip to state makes a coach happy, too.”
Mason Miller placed third in the Region 6 meet on Saturday in Monticello, finishing with a time of 18:17.94. He was behind Jackson County seniors Landon Bond (17:35.36) and Cody Sparks (18:10.26).
Miller finished fifth a year ago with a time of 18:33 and continues to move up the ladder in the region as he had the best time among non-seniors.
Jackson County won the team championship with 32 points, taking four of the top 10 spots. Lynn Camp was second with 64 points, followed by Berea with 68, Williamsburg with 84 and Somerset with 93.
Despite running a limited schedule this year, Miller has had success. He finished third in both the Chuck Vitatoe Classic at Harlan County High School and the Knox Central All Comers Race. His time at the regional meet was his best of the season.
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134