Miles Parish, of Etiwanda High School, has been named Athlete of the Year for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin’s All-Area track team. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher / Staff Photographer)
It’s a good thing Miles Parish is 6-foot-5.
He needed every inch of his towering frame to win the CIF State championship in the 400 meters.
“My coach told me before the race that it was going to be so close I would have to lean at the finish,” Parish said. “I didn’t know for sure I won until the announcer said it.”
At that very moment, it all become worth it. All the excrutiating ladders, the weight lifting, the monotonous training.
It was the kick that Parish developed last summer that was his greatest weapon, one he unleashed like never before on June 1.
His time of 46.53 at the state finals stands as the third best 400 meter time in the country this season.
The adrenaline was running so high in the 400 state final that the top three times in the state were achieved in that one race. Parish had to close a significant gap over the final 150 meters to edge Eureka’s Alexis Robinson by two hundredths of a second.
“It was a photo finish,” Etiwanda coach Bennie Gooden said. “Miles just out-leaned him at the line. He was behind where he was supposed to be entering the final 150, but he just kicked it into gear.”
Parish isn’t typically alarmed when trailing.
After all, he calmly erased a five-meter gap in the final 100 meters to win CIF-SS Masters by two tenths of a second, a lifetime compared to his margin at state.
But he knew the state final wasn’t unfolding according to plan. Against the best competition he had seen all year, he was too far behind entering the final curve. In an event that Gooden calls the thinking man’s race, Parish hadn’t executed properly to that point
“The top of the last 150 has been my weakest point,” Parish said. “My coaches would make me run a full 400 and start my teammates at the last 150 mark and let them run full speed from there. At the state final, I just found another gear and at the finish all I could do was hope it was enough.”
Once the euphoria wore off after winning his first state championship in his first trip to the state meet, Parish had another realization. The senior signed a letter of intent with Arizona for 85 percent of a scholarship. The Wildcats, however, made him a deal.
The faster he ran throughout the season, the closer he would get to a full scholarship.
True to their word, Arizona drew up a new letter of intent for Parish after the state meet. With a time like the one he posted, nothing less than a full scholarship would have been fair.
“This whole season turned out better than I could have possibly imagined,” Parish said. “They way it all happened, it was just crazy.”
By Clay Fowler, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/18/2013 10:48:21 AM PDT
Updated: 06/19/2013 05:11:46 PM PDT