Miiller inducted into track & field hall of fame
As Rugby High track and field athletes celebrated a victory at the Class B State Meet in Bismarck Memorial Day weekend, Panther athletic alumni enjoyed a celebration of their own.
1990 Rugby High graduate Kevin Miiller was inducted into the North Dakota High School Track and Field Hall of Fame in Bismarck the evening of the first day of the state meet.
Miiller told the Tribune, “The person that’s putting (the induction event) on called us on the phone and let us know I was being inducted. That was a pleasant phone call to get. It’s one of those things you hope for but, we were kind of thinking it might not (happen). It’s wild, isn’t it?”
Miiller said his wife, family and influential classmates joined him at the induction ceremony.
“My parents came down, and then Jason Fritz was also there,” Miiller noted.
“Jason Fritz actually graduated in ’88. He took second in the 1600 in ’88, and he took first in the 3200 in ’88.”
Miiller described Fritz as a “trendsetter” for the Panther track and field program. “If you look (at banners listing past award winners) in the gym, there was a huge streak before 1988 for many years when no one won.”
“I tell many people I give Jason the credit for making me think I could do it,” Miiller added. “Also, he was the legacy starter, the trendsetter. Because after Jason won, if you look in the gym, Rugby track and field went to a different level after Jason won. He kind of inspired everyone.”
“He lived out the dream,” Miiller said. ” Jim Johnston was there, too. He’s probably the most dedicated runner over his career for putting in hard work, so if it wasn’t for those two guys being ahead of me, I never would’ve accomplished what I did.”
Miiller continued, “Jason had the dream, and Jim was relentless on trying to beat me in every run and every practice, so those two guys got me to a different level.”
Miiller said the weekend was a busy one for his family, but he still had time to cheer on the 2019 Panther track and field team at state.
“I sat in the Rugby crowd (at state), but my son graduated, and that whole day was full of graduation events, so we unfortunately missed the big celebration for Rugby winning the state title.”
However, he said he enjoyed seeing old classmates and Panther boosters.
“It was fun to go back. I got to watch the two-mile races.”
Miiller, who works as an engineer in the energy field and lives in Bismarck, said he and his family often come back to Rugby for visits.
“Both my folks are there,” he said.
Visits to the RHS campus bring back lots of memories for him, too.
“I think it was my senior year when the new gym (was finished),” he noted. “We got to use it for the first time, and then they resurfaced the track. The facilities in the school they’re so nice, I’m kind of jealous of the kids coming after me, because they definitely have some good facilities.”
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