Senior Elizabeth Miller has been selected as Watertown-Mayer’s 2014 Athena Award winner. The award goes to a female senior athlete who demonstrates dedication and excellence in sports.
Watertown-Mayer has participated in the Athena Awards program since 2006 and Miller was chosen as this year’s selection by the girls’ sports coaches at WMHS. She will join 52 other area Athena winners at the 42nd annual Athena Awards Luncheon on May 2 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Athena winners are selected by their schools based on her excellence in individual or team sports. The luncheon aims to recognize and encourage these athletes. The awards will be presented by Allie Cronk, the Minnesota State High School League Girls’ Athletic Announcer.
WMHS Activities Director Mary Haugen described Miller as an outstanding and humble leader who works hard to achieve success.
“She is self-motivated, goal oriented, and focused,” Haugen said. “Her teammates are very important to her and even though she competes at a high level in two individual sports, she understands that the success of the team is more important than that of any one individual.”
Miller is a three-sport athlete at Watertown-Mayer High School, participating in cross country, girls’ basketball, and track. Between the three activities, Miller has lettered 10 times.
She has captained each team for one year and has four MVP awards to her name, including three in cross country and one in track. Miller has been named an All-Conference athlete five times, three times for cross country and twice in track, along with nine section awards (6 track, 3 cross country), with undoubtedly more to come this spring.
Miller is a three-time state participant in both cross county and track. She currently holds the school record in the 1600-meter run and finished fourth in the event at the 2013 state meet. She was also a part of the state champion 4×800 relay team in 2012.
Despite her decorated running career, Miller’s favorite sports memory is winning a basketball playoff game by two points her junior season over the team’s biggest rival, Mayer Lutheran.
Miller’s athletic achievements came from humble beginnings, which keep her grounded.
“I think it’s important to always remember where I began in my athletic career – double dribbling and traveling every other play in the middle school gym, not knowing how many times around the track 800 meters is, (and) having to walk for most of my first cross country race,” she said. “All you need is a little bit of hard work and dedication to make anything possible.”
She added that athletics have had a very positive influence on her life and shaped her into the person she is today.
“They have taught me how to be a supportive teammate and friend, to stay determined when I feel like quitting, and to fearlessly chase after my dreams,” she said. “To me, being an athlete means that I have the opportunity to be a positive role model to others – athletically, academically, and as a person.”
Although the Athena Award is based strictly on athletic achievements, Miller also highly excels in the classroom at WMHS. She holds a 3.97 grade point average and serves as the president of the National Honor Society and vice president of the Student Council. An All-State Academic winner and consistent ‘A’ Honor Roll member, Miller was also recently selected as one of four WMHS seniors to attend the Students of Excellence Banquet and Recognition Ceremony.
Outside of school, Miller spends time in the community volunteering with youth basketball games, the Rails to Trails 5K, and tutoring.
After high school, she plans to run at the University of Minnesota. Although Miller has always loved the atmosphere of the U of M campus and knew she wanted to attend, the deal was sealed after a summer cross county camp where she was invited to run with the Gophers.
“I just never thought in a million years that I could run there,” she said.
Miller will run both cross country and track at the U of M. She is undecided on a major.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com