St. Charles North senior Erik Miller recently committed to Illinois State’s men’s track and field team. He certainly had other college suitors. Also a football and basketball player, Miller has enjoyed a visible profile throughout his time as a North Star, which continued when he finished fourth in the high jump in the Class 3A state meet last season. Catching up with Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley for the latest edition of the Weekend Chit-chat, Miller discussed the recruiting process and outlook for the track season. Here’s an edited transcript:
How did everything with ISU come together?
Well, in the end it was down to either Iowa or Illinois state. I sat down with a pros and cons list. Obviously, I loved Iowa, but I thought Illinois State was just a good fit for me and for financial reasons and just the feel, I thought Illinois State was a great fit.
How long was ISU on your radar, then?
They were one of the first schools to contact me. ... Originally, I wanted to play football and run track in college. Eastern Illinois at first gave me an offer to do football and track, so I was thinking about that. … Illinois State said I could walk on the football team, too, but the summer going into my senior year, they were the first ones to look at me for just track and I remembered that.
You didn’t waste any time getting back into the track swing, did you?
Because our basketball season ended last Wednesday [March 5], I took a rest day Thursday and on that Friday went to the York Invitational and did 6-7 [in the high jump] at York. I broke the meet record. ... So I was pretty impressed without having any practice. ... I might be doing long and triple jump also at indoor conference and hopefully do a running event. I’ll hopefully branch out because I think I can score some points, maybe in the long jump and 200.
What are the transitions like since you’re staying in pretty good shape throughout?
Basketball going into track is a lot easier than football going into basketball because we’re always running in basketball. There’s not that much of a difference, but in basketball you’ll sprint, stop, sprint, stop; whereas in track, you’re running all along in the 200. But it’s really not that bad.
Lots of your peers specialize in sports these days. Do you reflect much on being a three-sport athlete?
Oh yeah, no doubt. I think what I’ve done with three sports is awesome. I love all three sports. It would be hard for me to choose one. ... But I also had days where I’ve wondered, “Hey, I wonder what would have happened if I had focused on just playing quarterback. Maybe I would have met some of the hype that was out there when I was starting out.” … I don’t regret not focusing on just one. ... I’ve had the time of my life doing three sports for four years, and without the coaches I wouldn’t have been able to do it. And also my parents [Karen and David].
What’s the team outlook for the track season?
Obviously, we lost a lot of good seniors last year. Zach Kirby was a big asset to our team, I looked up to him. ... But we have some good senior leadership with Kaleb Kirby, our pole vaulter, and Jack Feeney, who’s in sprints. … The biggest thing I’ve noticed is we’re a young team. It’s early and I haven’t been around much, but I’ve seen that our freshmen and sophomores are stepping up. ... I think we’ve got some potential, and hopefully we reach that potential toward the end of the year.
Any hunches about March Madness?
Oh, man, I was just watching some [conference tournament games] … It’s already crazy. It sucks not being able to play basketball anymore, but I don’t have any picks yet about who’s going to win. … For me personally, it would be cool to see Villanova to go far. They recruited me for track and football, and it’s a cool campus, so it would be nice to see them do something.