Haddon Heights' Miller enjoys breakout season on track

Haddon Heights senior Kashif Miller recently captured the Camden County 100 title in 10.73 seconds.
Haddon Heights senior Kashif Miller recently captured the Camden County 100 title in 10.73 seconds. (RON TARVER / Staff)
Posted: May 17, 2014

Kashif Miller stood on the outside lane of Haddon Heights' track Wednesday with his hands resting on his waist.

The senior had posted the fastest 100-meter dash time in New Jersey at Saturday's Camden County Championships, 10.73 seconds, for a new milestone in a breakout season and had a well-deserved day off Wednesday.

He still came to practice and watched his younger brother, freshman Tariq Miller, from across the track.

Miller remembered the position he was in before this season. He said he was "Robin" while teammate Dominique Irons, the Inquirer's South Jersey boys' track athlete of the year last season, was "Batman." He learned from Irons, especially the importance of confidence.

Irons graduated, and now Miller helps the younger guys on the team.

"He took me under his wing and everything, and it's been great," said Miller, a Syracuse recruit. "I'm trying to do the same."

Jabari Higgs went to Haddon Heights and is now the sprints and jumps coach. He sees his athletes trying to pass the torch and maintain the team's success. Irons even stopped by practice Tuesday.

"They look forward to doing it," Higgs said. "It's that same mentality: Come back and help out. They get used to seeing kids come back all the time, so it's like their turn."

Miller quickly ascended into a position as team leader. Beyond confidence, he has another reason for this season's success: health.

He had the third-fastest 100-meter time of all freshmen in New Jersey in 2011 and finished third in his class at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals. He didn't have that type of success again until indoor track this season, which culminated in a win in the 55-meter dash at the Meet of Champions.

"I felt like I definitely made my mark to let everybody know," Miller said. "I've been here for four years, and now you're finally getting the full effect of what I can do."

He had a left hip pointer that derailed his sophomore year and a sports hernia in his left groin last season. Miller doesn't know exactly when either occurred but believes both happened playing basketball.

He played four basketball games as a junior before he stopped to focus on track, where he was more accomplished as an athlete.

"It was like the greatest thing," Higgs said with a laugh. "We always try to tell kids to find that thing you're good at and concentrate on it. He was good at basketball, but he's great at track. He realized that colleges are calling him for track."

"It's been an uphill climb with the injuries and always having great competition that always just beat you out, that you're not prepared for yet," Miller said.

He entered his senior year healthy and began running like his coaches expected him to when he arrived as a freshman.

"He's become the leader of the team," Higgs said. "We've had a lot of good runners, and now it's his turn. He's taken that title and done very well with it."

Now he just needs to talk his brother out of returning to basketball.


ncarroll@phillynews.com

@NickJCarroll

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