Vision impairment doesn’t stop Rock Hill’s Miller in quest to reach state XC meetPublished 12:53am Tuesday, October 29, 2013
PEDRO — Seth Miller might be vision impaired, but he has always been able to see his goals.
The Rock Hill Redmen sophomore cross country runner is blind in his right eye and has no depth perception. But that hasn’t stopped him in his quest to achieve his goals.
He obtained one goal earlier this season when he ran a 16:26.66 time to break a 23-year-old school record of 16:53 set by his current coach, Mark McFann.
He reached another goal when he qualified for last Saturday’s Division II regional cross country meet at Pickerington North High School. He added yet another goal when he finished 14th overall and qualified for the state cross country meet this Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
“During cross country races that start later in the evening, I can’t see at night. I have no depth perception. If there’s a root sticking up, I can’t tell,” said Miller.
“Track doesn’t effect me too bad. It bothers me a little at night, but usually the track is lit up pretty well.”
The Ohio Valley Conference meet started later this season and began to get dark midway through the race. Miller still managed to finish second overall.
McFann said Miller’s work ethic more than compensates for his vision impairment.
“He’s had a great season. He works hard. He’s one of the hardest working kids I know. He’s not one of those kids you have to push. He pushes himself. He has his goals he wants to accomplish and he worked really at it,” said McFann.
When Miller broke the school record at the Piketon Invitational on Sept. 28, McFann knew the runner was a strong candidate to reach the state meet.
“I had a feeling after the Piketon Invitation that he had a chance. We watched the times around the district and we knew he had a chance. The way he ran the district, I felt really good. We weren’t surprised he made it (to the state),” said McFann.
“(Breaking the record) was something else we were going for. I’m glad he got it. I don’t know who was more excited that day, him or me.”
Miller is the first Rock Hill runner to reach the state meet since Bill McFann in 1975-76. Bill McFann ran a two-mile race. Miller is the first to qualify in the new 5K-race format.
Miller said he usually approaches each race the same, but he did go to the regional course the day before to run it and check for any soft spots or obstacles in his path that might cause him to trip.
It all seemed to check out, but Miller admitted he never expected to deal with the events that arose during the race.
One-quarter of a mile into the 3.1-mile race, Miller was caught in a pack of runners and fell. He got up and managed to get back among the leaders, but when he tried to pass one competitor, the runner accidently stepped on the heel of his shoe.
Miler ran a short distance with the shoe still on his foot, but he soon lost it and ran the rest the mile and a half with just one shoe. He finished with a 17:05.44 time.
“With one shoe on, it was still a pretty good time. I can’t complain. I still qualified. It was a bad time. I’ve run better times,” said Miller.
“A quarter of a mile in, I fell and I thought it’s going to be an interesting race. I didn’t see all that coming.”
But with the state meet ahead, Seth Miller can see clearly now and it’s looking pretty good.
The state meet will be held Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. The boys’ Div. II meet begins at 2:15 p.m. The girls’ Div. II meet is at 11:45 a.m.