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Thursday, May 5, 2016

'Miss 4x4'

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Okay, let's pass out those certificates to all of the Storm Lake High School students out of the student body of over 700 who have played four varsity sports over four years.

Form a straight line now everybody. No pushing. Count them up - let's see, round off to the nearest whole interger, multiply by the sqare root of pi, carry the nine...

There's exactly -

One.

And she might be the smallest Tornado athlete of them all.

"When you're five feet tall, you better be fast," laughs Maleia Miller, who proved that adage as part of the Tornado contingent to the State Track Meet over the weekend, going All-State as part of the school-record setting 4x100 team and running the leadoff leg of the State Champ sprint medley relay.

Her first love, however, wasn't any of her dogpile of varsity sports.

"I started out in youth soccer and I've been involved in sports ever since," she says. "You make a lot of friends, you stay in shape, and you always know you'll be having some fun," she says of her prolific career.

She claims to play no favorite when it comes to athletics, nor does she set any specific goals to achieve in sports beyond high school.

"I've talked to a couple of the coaches at Iowa Central, but I haven't made any decisions for sure," she says.

Sports have never been a burden on her schedule in her 16 seasons in green and white. "To me, it's never gotten in the way of academics - well, until the very end. Getting ready to graduate and going to State Track, this has been the only hard time I've had to keep up," she says.

"Otherwise, sports keeps me out of trouble," she smiles.

Most of the memories she will take away from her sport years happen to be what is known in Tornado girls athletic circles as "The Blonde Moments." She does not care to elaborate - yeah, they know who they are.

She has four trips to State track to fill the scrapbook, as well as one in State softball - with a final diamond season to go.

She said she would encourage younger students to try a variety of sports and activities.

"It teaches you that you have to work hard to get what you want," she says.

Teammates appreciate the fearlessness that Maleia packs into her 60 inch frame.

"It was a matter of growing up around all boys. I had to keep up, and that meant picking my fights and then sticking to it."

No blood, no foul, she figures.

"I don't wear knee pads or sliding shorts or any of that," she says. "I don't mind hitting the dirt and getting scraped up."



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