Miles falls in Junior Olympics semifinal

Published 12:02 am Saturday, August 1, 2015

It wasn’t that Leon Miles wasn’t fast on Friday. He was.

The other guys were just really, really fast.

Miles, a rising senior at Vicksburg High, bowed out of competition in the men’s 110-meter hurdles at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics after finishing eighth in his semifinal heat Friday.

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Miles clocked a time of 14.88 seconds to place 23rd out of 24 runners in the meet in Jacksonville, Florida. The time was a tick off the personal best he ran in the preliminaries, but still around his season average.

Leon Miles

Leon Miles

The rest of the field, however, included six runners at 14.08 seconds or lower. By comparison, the state record for the Mississippi High School Activities Association is 13.95 seconds — a mark three runners bested in Friday’s semifinal heats.

“He was a little upset and down about the way he ran, but these guys were all so fast today,” said Clarence Maxey, Miles’ coach with the Mississippi Heat Track Club. “He was upset, but he did his best. He’s a competitor and he should be upset. That shows he cares.”

Fortunately, Miles’ time at the Junior Olympics doesn’t have to end on that sour note. He’s got the top seed for the men’s 400 meter hurdles semifinals after clocking a time of 53.60 seconds in the preliminaries — four-tenths of a second faster than the No. 2 seed.

The 400 meter hurdles semifinals begin today at 11 a.m. The top two in each of three semifinals, as well as the next two best times, advance to the finals Sunday at noon.

“He’s the number one seed going into tomorrow’s race. Hopefully he can live up to that billing,” Maxey said.