Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - May 15, 2014

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54 // VARSITY May 15, 2014 • • • • D arrah didn't know Miller, she only knew of her all-around exploits at Pleasant Valley High School. Her name was out there. As a se- nior, she was the Quad-City Times Female Athlete of the Year. "We got to see her play volleyball," Healy said, "and she was a stud." Miller left Pleasant Valley as the career leader in kills. She was the Mississippi Athletic Conference Player of the Year and first-team all-state in volley- ball. That was her focus in the fall. In the winter, she played basketball and help lead her team to the regional final. In the spring, she com- peted in track. At the state meet, she placed third in the discus. She was also a long jumper. Softball dominated her summer as sure as she dominated softball. She rewrote the record book in becoming a four-time, first-team all-state pick. She finished her career with 43 homers and 188 RBIs. How feared was she? In the Class 5A state quar- terfinals against West Des Moines Dowling, she had a walk-off home run and drew three intentional passes the next game. She was still only a junior. Softball has been her calling ever since Ardie Mill- er began working on his daughter's fundamentals. "Back when I started," she said, "he had me doing catching drills." This was before Miller shifted to the infield (she played third and shortstop in high school). Her dad taught her what he knew: he had caught in fastpitch softball. One of her older brothers also caught. "I always wanted to be like them," she said of her two older siblings, Cam, who was a pitcher, and Co- rey, who was the catcher. Chloe Miller would go to all of their games in other sports, too. "I was always kind of strong and rambunctious and rough growing up," she conceded. "But I could hit when I was little. I could swing the bat and when I made contact, it would go pretty far. "In making the switch from 14U to high school pitching, it was a little different, so I was a slapper in eighth grade because I was still speedy back then." But she devoted her offseasons to getting stronger and it has since paid dividends. So has that earlier in- troduction to catching, though she had to start from scratch last fall at Wisconsin. "I had done it and I had a knowledge base of it," she said. "But it was pretty rough and a lot different than I thought it was going to be. It was a lot more work GREG ANDERSON

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