Chillicothean Miller competed in fifth NCAA national track, field meet

UCM jumper finished 13th in long jump in D2 outdoors May 29

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Jesse Miller, 2017 Chillicothe High School graduate and 2-times state champion in track-and-field, long jumps for the University of Central Missouri Mules during last month's MIAA Championships at Pittsburg, Kan. Miller medaled in the long, triple, and high jumps at that meet and advanced on to the NCAA Division II national meet in the long jump last weekend, although he was unable to win his third D-II national-championships medal.

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Chillicothe High School 2017 alumnus and 2016 and ’17 high jump state champion Jesse Miller was among a group of University of Central Missouri track-and-field athletes who competed in the 2021 NCAA Division II National Championship meet late last month.

For Miller, a redshirt junior at UCM, it was his sixth D-II national meet, his third in outdoors competition. He medaled in the high jump at both the indoors and outdoors “nationals” in 2018 as a redshirt freshman, but will have to continue his pursuit of a third NCAA medal in 2022 after finishing 13th in the long jump with a distance of 23’7-1/4” May 29.

Miller had qualified for the national meet with a season personal-best of 25’1-1/4”.

For his regular-season performances in the long jump, Miller was named to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association 2021 outdoors All-Region Team.

The national outdoors meet concluded a UCM season in which three Chillicotheans – Miller, junior Brett Shaffer, and freshman Isaak Rasche – two Meadville High alums – Dillon Seckington and Jacob Tsikoyak – were competitors for the Mules, who tied for 11th place in the team standings at the recent outdoors national championships.

Miller earned third place in the long jump and fifth place in the triple jump in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association conference meet at Pittsburg, Kan., May 9.

At that meet, hurdler Shaffer ran a personal-best and NCAA outdoors provisional qualifying time of 14.48 seconds in the 110-meters high hurdles, the event in which he was state champion for CHS in his 2018 senior season, and went below 54 seconds for the first time in the 400-meters intermediate hurdles with a time of 53.97. He took seventh place in the conference meet in both events.

Izaak Rasche, 2020 Chillicothe High School graduate. runs (left) the 400-meters dash for the University of Central Missouri Mules during last month's MIAA Championships at Pittsburg, Kan. Rasche helped UCM's 400-meters relay team to a seventh-place finish.

Also in the MIAA meet, Rasche individually was 21st in the 400-meters dash in 51.65 seconds, but combined with three teammates to be seventh in the 400-meters (4x100) relay in 42.71.

During the UCM-hosted final regular-season meet May 1, Miller won the high jump at 6’8-3/4” and was second in the long jump at 23’9”. The high jump effort turned out to be his peak for the season, but did meet the national-meet provisional qualifying standards, although he subsequently did not advance, due to enough others around the country surpassing that height.

Meanwhile, Shaffer won both hurdles at that meet at UCM’s Vernon Kennedy Stadium, taking the highs in 15.02 seconds and the intermediates in 54.19.

Also during that meet, Meadville’s Tsikoyak threw the hammer 150’6-1/4” to earn 12th place.

Back in mid-March, Miller was among 15 UCM thinclads of either gender to compete in the NCAA Division II Indoors National Championships meet at Birmingham, Ala.

He qualified in both the high jump and triple jump, but was unable to earn a medal-winning placement in either competition, taking 10th in the triple at 48’10-3/4” and “no-heighting” in the high.

While almost exclusively being in the two hurdles races throughout both the indoors and outdoors seasons, Shaffer also occasionally ran as part of a second UMC 1,600-meters (4x400) relay unit.

Rasche, competing often with the strong UCM varsity as a true freshman this past school year, had a personal-best for the outdoors season of 23.3 seconds in the 200 in an April 16 home meet and 50.9 in the 400 in an April 10 meet at Pittsburg, Kan.

On the 400 relay, the group’s 42.71 in the MIAA Championships was the Mules’ fastest clocking in the race in 2021.

Meadville 2019 alumnus Seckington participated in both track-and-field (at the freshman level) and cross country running as a redshirt freshman this year after the 2020 track season was mostly canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic which cost Tsikoyak his senior year of competition at MHS.

Seckington ran middle distances (800, 1,500 meters) in freshman-only races during invitational meets this spring. His best finish was a second place as part of the Mules’ distance-medley relay in the UCM Indoors Invitational in late January and a third in the “open” 800 in that same meet.

Outdoors, he had a personal-best 4:10.95 1,500 (metric mile) in an April 16 home meet.

In cross country, Seckington had as high as a 64th-place finish in an 8-kilometer (approximately five miles) race last Oct. 30.

Tsikoyak, throwing the “weight” during indoors competition, had a best performance of 38’9-3/4” in the UCM Invitational. Outdoors, whirling the “hammer”, his personal-best was his showing in the previously-noted May 1 final regular-season meet.