MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The life of a college student can certainly be stressful. Generally, this lifestyle involves tons of homework, studying and trying to make the grades. Many times, students try to make some extra money with a part-time job.
Occasionally, an internship is thrown into the mix and things can get really hectic. Now, try adding a collegiate-level sport that requires everyday dedication … and a student teaching job … and military service.
Most people would probably stop at two or three of those. Terina Miller embraces all of the above and she is happy to tell you all about it.
She will laugh as she describes what free space she has left on her calendar; certainly she’s a fan of time management.
“My schedule is very demanding,” Miller said with a smile, “but it’s about what you want to get done throughout the day.”
Miller is currently working toward her bachelor’s degree in physical education/teacher education. She recently earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology and investigative sciences while minoring in personal training. Prior to that, she received her associate’s degree in criminal justice from the Community College of the Air Force. She would like to finish her college career with a master’s degree in athletic coaching.
The past few years of school were not the original plan for Miller. Her mind has changed several times.
“I kind of wanted to go into the FBI. I’m a military cop and I wanted to focus on that,” she said. “I thought that was how I was going to spend the rest of my life. I was even thinking about going active duty.
“I realized I needed my education so I transferred to WVU from Northern Community College. Halfway through my bachelor’s program, I found that the strength and conditioning areas and the lifting here kind of grew on me. I realized ‘wow I think I really want to coach.’”
In 2009, she was redshirted while serving overseas in Saudi Arabia for the Air National Guard. When she came back to WVU, Miller added to her list of accomplishments by becoming a standout on the women’s track and field team.
During her high school career at Brooke High in Wellsburg, W.Va., Miller played basketball, volleyball, track and field and was the first female wrestler in school history. She was a multi-talented athlete who certainly did not see herself being a thrower in college.
“I really enjoyed wrestling,” Miller said. “I was actually thinking about trying to go to school with that. I’ve talked to some people recently and I’m thinking after college track, I’m going to do MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) training because I really enjoy it.”
As for throwing, she really never imagined it at the collegiate level.
“I did shot-put and discus throws in high school, but I figured I’d give this a shot. I came on the team and realized I was not a discus thrower,” she said with a laugh. “I immediately cut that one off, but I still had a passion for shot put so I kind of continued with that. The assistant coach introduced me to the hammer throw and told me what it was about. We started doing some drills and I realized ‘this is me, this is what I want to do; this is how I’m going to accomplish things here’ so I continued with her for that year, then got a new coach and it kind of just took off from there.”
Miller finds a certain type of comfort in individual sports. When she was on the wrestling team in high school, she was competing against boys and knew that she had to prove herself.
“I like an individual sport, and of course you have the track and field team and the points all matter, but when you get in the ring, it’s you and it’s only you.
“There is a team aspect in track, but throwing is for the individual,” she added. “It kind of simulates wrestling, how it’s only you against that other person. With throwing, it’s only you and you’re against that ball.”
Miller has learned to compete with herself. Earlier this year at the Raleigh Relays, Miller broke her personal best with a 55.25-meter throw. More recently, she came very close to that mark with a distance of 55.09 meters. And she doesn’t plan on stopping there. Before her college career is over, she hopes to make a 58-meter throw, which adds up to about 180 feet.
“I’m competing against myself all the time in meets, really,” she explained. “I just look at what I’m doing wrong and focus on what I’m trying to do. The next step is to correct it.”
The senior is extremely dedicated to improving herself and helping her teammates improve along the way. When she has any free time in her very demanding daily life, she finds herself reviewing videos from practices or meets to see what she can do better. She also welcomes advice and realizes that criticism is constructive.
“I probably review video up to two hours a night,” Miller suggested. “When I throw in practice I will specifically tell the girls (on the team) to look out for something and if they don’t see it, they let me know. Just by watching other people, I get feedback. Reading articles on hammer throwing in general really helps me to focus on improving by learning what others have done and how they continue to get better.”
While Miller has shown an independent streak, she is also thankful to her teammates at the same time. Without the team aspect, she believes she would not have made such progression over the years.
“There is a big team aspect. I feel like the whole track team itself has bonded,” she said.
This weekend, the WVU women’s track and field team will travel to Philadelphia to take part in Penn Relays. Miller’s time left on this team is growing short, and although she’s already had quite an impact, she strives to make the rest of her season memorable.
“My big goal this year was to make regionals and I believe I’ve accomplished that. I want to go into regionals prepared; I don’t want to just go because I made it,” she said. “And I want to be one of the top three in the BIG EAST.
“My next goal is to hit 56 meters and by the end of the season, I would like to be at 58.”
It’s hard to say what Terina Miller will be doing after graduation. She possesses many talents but one thing is for sure, she will leave school as a leader and as one of the most talented throwers WVU has ever seen.
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