During last week’s regional track meet a collection of interested onlookers — rival coaches — glanced in the direction of Northside track coach Clarissa Johnson, trying to gauge her next move.
They were expecting Johnson to shut down triple jumper Christian Miller after he secured the event’s top mark of 49 feet, 4 inches.
“I asked him if he was going to go 50 feet?,” Johnson said to Miller. “He gave me the thumbs up, got on the runway and went 50 feet, 10 inches. He said he felt he could go farther.”
If he has his way in Saturday’s state track meet at LSU’s Bernie Moore Stadium, Miller will sail farther than any athlete before him in his two specialty events — the long and triple jumps.
To get a perspective on Miller’s vision for the day, the LSU signee has his sights set on capturing both events in Class 4A with record-setting jumps in excess of 25 feet in the long jump and 52-53 in the triple jump.
“I’m constantly thinking about those marks. I want to break the state record,” Miller said. “I feel confident I can break both of them. The long jump may be a little tougher, because I’m more of a triple jumper, and my technique is better.”
Should Miller attain his goal, he would need to surpass the composite long jump mark of 25-2¼ set by Destrehan’s Donald Robbins in 1972. The Class 4A mark of 25-0¾ was established by New Iberia’s Johnny Hector in 1978.
Tara’s Kenny Hall has the composite triple jump mark at 51-8 ¾ set in 2004, while Baker’s Nat Sowell has the class record of 51-6 from 1991.
While he’s been involved in other events in his career, Miller has evolved into one of the nation’s top jumpers, earning scholarship offers from some of the top programs across the country. After making official visits to LSU, Alabama and Nebraska, he signed with the Tigers in November.
“I grew up in (Monroe) Louisiana and just felt more at home,” Miller said. “I didn’t expect the decision to be as tough as it was, but LSU just had more a family feel to them.”
Miller would love nothing better than to culminate his high school career in a record-setting manner at the site of his future college home.
This marks the third state meet for Miller, who was the state runner-up in the triple jump (46-10) and eighth in the long jump (21-5½) his sophomore year.
Miller struck gold for the first time at the 2015 state indoor meet, sweeping the long and triple jumps and added the state indoor long jump title this past February.
Miller captured his first outdoor title a year ago in the triple jump at 50 feet, 9 inches and was third in the long at 23-6.
The four-time state champion will try and further his legacy when he brings the top marks into the Class 4A meet in the triple jump (50-10) and long jump (23-10½).
“I’m trying to leave my mark on track and field history in Louisiana, maybe even get a national record,” Miller said. “If I’d get that, I would be pleased.”