May 2014

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67 T he difference between a personal-best long jump of 18-feet-9 inches and a school re- cord of 20-4 ¼ is more than 19 inches. For University of Iowa senior Zinnia Miller, the differ- ence is consistency. Miller is finishing her Hawkeye career in a memo- rable way. e native of Abaco, Bahamas (via Florida Air Academy in Melbourne, Fla.) joined the UI track and field program to compete in multi-events. at means the five-event pentathlon (800-meter run, 60 hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put) during the indoor season and the seven- event heptathlon (200 dash, 800, 100 hurdles, long jump, high jump, shot put, javelin) during the outdoor season. Regardless of season, the strain of training and competition in so many areas caused annual nag- ging injuries that slowed Miller's development. You name it, and at some point from 2011-13 it probably hindered Miller in some form: back, toe, hamstring, ankle. She can still be found in the training room, but this season it is to stretch, not rehabilitation. "She has always been the best athlete we have had at Iowa in the last four years," UI assistant coach Clive Roberts said. "What has happened is trying to stay consistent with her training and then to get her to the runway; make sure she is not injured." Another advantage is specializing in the long jump, while mixing in a new wrinkle, the triple jump. Gone are the days of training for high jump, hurdles, and throws. Miller entered her final season of college with personal bests of 18-9 in the indoor long jump and 18-3 ¾ outdoors. She had never scored a point in a major meet. at changed Feb. 28 at the Big Ten Championships in Geneva, Ohio. On her first jump of the final round, Miller sailed 6.20 meters. More notable is the distance of Miller's sixth and final attempt when she jumped 6.15 meters. Miller, Erin Busbee of Michigan, and Abieyuwa Ehim- wenman of Ohio State all achieved the top mark of 6.20. But the second-best leap for Busbee was 6.17 and the second-best for Ehimwenman was 6.16, giving them first and second places at the Big Ten Championships. Miller was third, missing gold by two centimeters. "I was upset," Miller said. "For that to be the first time to score in an event and grab 10 points would have been amazing, a work of God I would say. Af- terward I was kind of upset, but also pretty happy that I actually jumped a mark beyond my expecta- tions." It was a distance that surpassed anything anyone had ever done in UI women's track & field history. A week earlier, senior teammate Carisa Leacock broke the Hawkeye record that stood 28 years with a leap of 19-9 ½ (6.03m). Miller outdid that mark on 4-of-6 attempts at the Big Ten Championships. Miller credits the environment of the Hawkeye horizontal jumps training group that also includes Leacock and junior Sarah Ryan for providing mo- tivation. "It feels connected as a family," Miller said. "We try to fix each other's mistakes and it has been a lot easier because it is more of a peer group." Miller and Leacock talk oen about the legacy they will leave as members of the UI track and field program. Leacock congratulated Miller when her long jump record went down within a span of seven days. "Carisa is like my sister," Miller said. "It is more like a family feel than always a competition." Miller hasn't limited her success to the long jump. She placed fih in the triple jump at the Big Ten Conference Championships with a leap of 41-2 ¼. Miller also hasn't limited her success to the indoor season. At the outdoor season opener in Tempe, By DARREN MILLER 24 Hawkeyes to Watch

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