By JASON ELMQUIST
No matter the sport, an athlete wants to be peaking at the end of the year just in time for the big events.
Oklahoma State thrower Nick Miller appears to be in that position heading into the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships this week in Eugene, Ore. The United Kingdom native is coming off a first-place finish in the hammer throw at the West Region, where he broke the Cowboy record which he had set earlier in the season.
Miller is also the top-ranked thrower in the country after his heave of 234-feet, 11-inches at the preliminary meet — which followed his second-straight Big 12 Conference crown in the hammer throw.
“It’s about consistency. What you’ve done to this point doesn’t really matter anymore,” Miller said. “It’s about what you do at the this meet, and I’m excited for the opportunity to compete.”
After practicing with his potential All-American thrower on Monday in Oregon, OSU throwing coach John Baumann said he sees that consistency carrying over into the most important week of the year.
“It was a very relaxed practice. His rhythm is on right now,” Baumann said. “We just keep working on our real specific things and just keep it moving.”
Miller knows what can happen if he’s not throwing his best this week. The native of Carlisle, United Kingdom, failed to qualify for the finals at last year’s NCAA championships — something Baumann wouldn’t be surprised if Miller used as motivation.
“He’s never mentioned it, but it definitely could be something in the back of his mind as a little motivation to redeem what he did,” the OSU throwing coach said.
Miller is bringing throwing to the forefront for the OSU track and field program. While distance running being the main focal point of the program in the past — with most of the top cross country runners also competing in the track season — with Miller having success while wearing the OSU jersey, that notion is starting to fade.
“The bigger the meet, the better he throws. His performance at the Indoor National Championships was amazing — he had a huge personal best in an event that he’s new to (weight throw) ... and went in a got fourth at the championships,” OSU track and field coach Dave Smith said. “I think his maturity and poise to produce your best performance at the biggest meet has been carrying along with him throughout the outdoor season. His confidence is high, his spirits are up and I he’s obviously going into the national championship as a favorite.”
The college competition the absolute ultimate goal for Miller, however. He will take aim at the international level competitions over the summer with hopes that this year — starting this week in Eugene — will be a springboard to making the Olympic team for his native England.
“Those are big, motivating factors for Nick,” Baumann said. “We talked about it in early spring how there are a lot of guys that have won the NCAA hammer throw have gone on to have some pretty good world and Olympic team careers.”