Alexandria freshman Jaelyn Miller ran at the Class AA state track and field meet when she was in seventh grade, but Saturday was her first solo event on the big stage.
Miller sat in 10th place for the majority of the four laps around the St. Michael-Albertville track in the 1600-meter race. However, a late push got her on the podium. Her time of 5:02.44 was good for eighth.
“It feels crazy,” Miller said. “It was my hope that I could get on the podium, but I never really knew. I wasn’t expecting it.”
Miller ran in the 4x800 relay in 2019 where Alexandria ran to a third-place finish. On that team were Myah Kremer and Jaelyn’s two sisters– Bethany and Aleah.
Aleah, a junior for Alexandria, also qualified for state in the 1600 race that ran Saturday. She took 10th place with a time of 5:05.77. Even though it was Jaelyn’s first time running a solo event at state, she didn’t feel alone.
“I got to race with my sister, and it made me feel like I wasn’t completely alone out there,” Jaelyn Miller said. “It felt like it was more about me. It was helpful to know (Aleah) was running with me.”
The Miller sisters have left their mark on the Alexandria running programs over the last decade. The oldest sister, JeAnna, graduated in 2017 before competing in Alexandria’s high, triple, and long jumps along with relay races. The second oldest, Bethany, graduated in 2020, leaving Aleah and Jaelyn to carry the torch.
In Aleah’s 1600 run, she broke her personal record by over eight seconds. She also set a new career time in the 3200-meter run on Thursday at 11:21.54 (12th place), easily eclipsing her seed time of 11:30.81.
Jaelyn also smashed her personal record in the 1600. She beat her section qualifying time by over 16 seconds and passed her previous career-best by nearly nine seconds.
Jaelyn and Aleah run some of the same events in track, and both run cross country. It’s safe to say there’s friendly competitiveness within the family.
“It is friendly competition because we both want it,” Jaelyn said. “At the same time, we are totally for each other. We want each other to do well, but we are going to fight for it. The race went by really quickly. I was super surprised to see where I was, and I was so happy. It made me feel special to be on the podium.”
Alexandria takes 13th
The Cardinals scored 16 points in the six events they took part in on Saturday. In 2019, Alexandria finished second at the state meet behind Rosemount. The Irish clinched back-to-back state championships with a team score of 86.
Lexi Cole finished her career with a 12th-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles. She recorded a time of 46.60 after taking second in the section (45.97).
Alexandria’s 4x800-meter relay team of Emma Ecker, Greta Oldenkamp, Giselle Jahner and Myah Kremer finished sixth with a time of 9:30.13. It was one of two school records set by Alexandria girls athletes on Saturday. Hailie Kent was the other school record-breaker in the triple jump at 37-feet, 6-inches.
Elena Fuglestad ran the 400-meter dash in 1:00.52. To qualify for state, she ran a 1:00.43 at the section meet.
Sophia Vinje rounded out the Alexandria athletes in the discus throw. Her longest hurl of 100-feet, 1-inch, put her in 16th place.