The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Sports

June 13, 2014

Former Lakeview High product Miller wins NCAA javelin title

- — Very few high school athletes get the opportunity to go to Division I schools and even fewer excel on that national stage, but University of Florida junior track and field star Fawn Miller has done just that.

Miller, who was crowned PIAA champion twice during her high school days at Lakeview High in Stoneboro, won the javelin title on Wednesday night at the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Miller fired a personal best throw of 190 feet, 8 inches (58.13m) on her second attempt to capture the Gators’ first national championship on the women’s side since 2010.

Back in 2010, Miller was a senior at Lakeview High and finished 2nd in the javelin at the PIAA Class AA Championships at Shippensburg University’s Seth Grove Stadium. She had won the crown as a sophomore and junior in 2008 and ’09.

Miller, who entered Wednesday night’s finals at Oregon’s historic Hayward Field as the No. 1 seed, nailed the 190-8 mark and it is the best mark in the nation this year, 9th best all-time and second best in University of Florida history.

“I’m super excited, it still hasn’t sunk in,” Miller said on the UF website. “I’m just going through the motions right now.

“My first throw I just wanted to go out there and really set the tone and make everyone come after me. It worked out to my advantage this time. PR’ing here is a big thing and I’m happy about that one.”

Her distance is 2nd in school history to 2010 national champion Evelien Dekkers (193-6).

Miller is a 2-time SEC champion. She won the crown as a freshman and most recently on May 17 with a throw of 187-4 at the University of Kentucky’s Track & Field Complex in Lexington, Ky.

The 3-day 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships conclude today and the Gators have their sights set on the program’s 7th (women) and 8th (men) national titles.

Miller’s national title capped off an amazing comeback from a devastating injury.

In the spring of 2012, Miller had just competed in the first meet of the season and was riding her motorcycle home from class near the UF campus in Gainesville, Fla. A car pulled out of a side street and slammed into her.

Her right foot, which is very important to her powerful release in the javelin, was mangled. She underwent surgery and the coaching staff wasn’t sure if she would ever walk normally again, let alone compete in events.

Miller suffered nerve damage in the foot and more surgery was discussed, but she continually made progress in a long rehab battle and eventually returned last year, finished 12th at the NCAA Championships and earned All-American honors.

The nerve damage forced Miller to change the way she threw the jav by altering the final steps of her release. Instead of slowing down just before throwing due to pain in her right foot, she maintains a fast speed and finishes strong.

“This year is more like the comeback year,” she said. “I changed a lot of things in my technique, and it’s working. Coming back after the accident, I could barely walk on my foot. It was so difficult.

“This year I am so much stronger than I have ever been, so it’s actually been a blessing.”

Miller will now train for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which are June 25-29 in Sacramento, Calif., and a spot on the Olympic team could be in her future.

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