Prep Track: South's Miles makes most of busy schedule

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2008

By Bret Strelow
Salisbury Post
Two-sport standout Maverick Miles left Mooresville midway through the first session of the NPC track meet and arrived at South Rowan in time to suit up as the second baseman for the school’s baseball team.
Miles fielded difficult-to-handle questions and groundballs that day in late April.
A favorite to claim the conference title in the pole vault, he didn’t make a single attempt. The event’s slow progression put Miles in a bind, and he hit the road so he wouldn’t miss the first pitch with second place at stake in Landis.
“All my teammates were asking me how I did and if I won,” Miles said. “All I could say was that I had to leave early. I had to come back and try to help the team.”
Down time has been in short supply for Miles, a sophomore who will enter the 3A state track meet Friday as the top seed in the pole vault.
He batted .407 this season for South’s baseball team, which tied for third place in the NPC and lost to R-S Central in the first round of the playoffs last Friday.
Miles’ parents attended the game in Rutherfordton, and the family traveled 60 miles toward Asheville later that night. Miles competed in a regional track meet at T.C. Roberson the next day and set a personal record with a first-place vault of 14 feet, 3 inches.
“I was real upset knowing we had lost the game and that was the last time getting to play with the seniors I had become good friends with,” Miles said. “It was a real tough switch, and I just knew that I had done it when I was younger and had always been able to do good.
“Going up there and winning was a good relief.”
That relief didn’t give Miles reason to relax. The opportunity to secure an NCHSAA championship awaits.
Miles already has set four national records and won seven national championships, including two in the summer before his eighth-grade year at Corriher-Lipe Middle School. He cleared 13-11/2 at the Mid-South Conference meet the next spring.
As a 14-year-old South freshman, he cleared 14-0 at the state indoor meet. Miles came up short in his bid to qualify for the 4A outdoor meet three months later.
The top four finishers from the regional advanced, and Miles tied East Rowan’s Wayne Parker and Central Cabarrus’ Gray Wilson for third place. Parker and Wilson moved forward because they had cleared 13-6 in fewer attempts than Miles.
“All the coaches have been supportive, but it’s been really hard because I’ve basically focused on baseball,” Miles said. “The competition is catching up a little bit.”
Miles was training for baseball this winter when his growth plate separated from his left hip. He missed 10 weeks of the indoor track season and was released to start jogging again 10 days before the state meet in February.
Miles entered the last qualifying meet, earned a spot in the 1A/2A/3A championships and placed fourth in Chapel Hill. Baseball practice started two days later.
Miles participated in only three outdoor meets prior to last weekend’s regional.
“Those were basically my practice,” Miles said.
He finished second to Parker at the county meet, and Statesville’s Nick Martin cleared 12-6 at the NPC meet to win against a field that didn’t include Miles or an injured Parker.
Miles was one of five vaulters to clear 14-0 in the regional round, and three of the other four were seniors. His performance occurred in less-than-ideal conditions at Roberson.
“There was a big wind blowing that slowed you down, but I didn’t let it get into my head,” Miles said. “I just focused in. I got mentally tough and peaked.”
Just like his father, Jim, did as a South Rowan vaulter 34 years ago.
He set a personal record by clearing 14-3 in 1974, and his ahead-of-schedule son matched that feat in Asheville.
“Having been a vaulter myself, I know how difficult it was for him to clear that height at such an early age of 15 and under such extreme conditions with a terrible side and head wind,” Miles’ father said. “Especially with less than about two hours of practice this season.
“He never got off the ground in warmups, but when the bar went up, so did his focus. He kicked it into another gear.”
Miles won’t have a chance to rest once the state meet concludes in Greensboro.
He plans to play in an American Legion baseball doubleheader Saturday, attend the State Games tryouts Sunday afternoon and return home in time to join his Legion teammates for that night’s contest.
Just like he proved in April, Miles strives for individual goals while keeping his team’s best interests in mind.

Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or