The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Nationals new height for ENMU's Miles


May 18, 2018

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories on Eastern New Mexico University athletes heading to the Division II national track and field championships. Saturday’s story will feature junior sprinter Danee Bustos.

PORTALES — She doesn’t really know how good she is, but everybody else seems to have a pretty good idea.

That’s pretty much been Eastern New Mexico sprinter Kandice Miles’ track career in a nutshell, as others always believed in her, but it’s just recently that’s she’s starting to finally believe in herself.

That new belief Miles has gained is starting to work out awfully well for her as of late, as her times continue to improve, and more importantly, she’s finally going to nationals. The sophomore qualified for the 200 meter dash and is also on the ENMU women’s 400 relay team that will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina for next weekend’s NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

“It means a lot to me, because of how much I’ve improved,” Miles said. “Last year, I had no chance at nationals. I’m excited, but I’m not really nervous. I figure I’ve made it this far, so no reason to get too stressed out.”

ENMU coach Jeff Kavalunas was amongst the many that saw the talent in her, and in fact, he felt that Miles would probably have the best season of any Greyhound woman, dating back to the start of the indoor season this past winter.

Back in February, Kavalunas said, “I’m pretty excited about Miles — she’s looking really good in practices. (However) she didn’t really run to her full potential last year.”

That seems to be Miles’ bugaboo, as the results never quite matched the talent. In limited action as an indoor track freshman in 2017, Miles competed at just three invitationals, and struggled beyond her debut at the Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational, where she recorded a pair of 12th-place finishes in the 60 and 200 meter dash events.

That outdoor season, however, Miles did show growth with sectional 400 meter victories at multiple meets, but preliminary performances in the 200 and 400 at the 2017 Lone Star Conference Outdoor Championships weren’t nearly enough to qualify her for the finals.

The trend appeared to be continuing this indoor season, until Miles finished the season strong at the LSC Indoor Championships with finishes of fourth in both the 200 (24.57) and 400 (55.96).

That appears to be the turning point for Miles, who has placed 11th or better in every one of the nine events over five meets she’s competed in this outdoor season. Miles has managed to break the 25-second barrier in the 200, recording a 24.33-second time for a 10th place finish at the West Texas A & M Classic in early April.

However, after recording a 24.50 at the LSC Championships, Miles had a personal and school record of 23.98 at last week’s West Texas A & M Last Chance Meet.

According to Miles, she’d like to P.R. again in Charlotte, which will give her the best chance for the highest finish possible. “I expect to make the finals in both events — 23.7 is what I’m going for (in the 200),” Miles explained. “I still can’t believe I’m running this fast. I still have room to get better, but I’ve dropped a lot of seconds off of my time.”

Perhaps the biggest champion of Miles’ success is her mother. Miles’ mom always told her daughter that she’s a much better runner than she thinks she is in her own mind, and over time, that really started to resonate with Kandice.

In fact, between her mom’s support and her own re-dedication to her craft, Miles was able to get her college track career heading in the right direction, and like a freight train, there’s no stopping it now.

“This past summer, my mom really helped me out a lot,” Miles said. “I lost weight and started eating healthier. Ever since I got over that wall, I was happy. I never expected to run this fast.”


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