Miles Unterreiner (WA) winning Nike BorderClash
(Photo by Dave Clark)
The past few years have been a journey for Washington's Miles Unterreiner (Sr., Gig Harbor). The senior star is finishing up his senior cross country campaign the way any athlete dreams of. Miles earned himself a state title, beating a very strong field. He came back to win the Nike BorderClash two weeks later. Now labeled as one of the favorites at the Foot Locker West Regional this weekend, see what Miles has to say on an array of questions.
MileSplit Interviews: Miles Unterreiner (Sr., Gig Harbor, WA)
MileSplit (MS): First off, happy birthday! [ed. note. Miles' birthday was on Monday] Did you do anything fun to celebrate?
Miles Unterreiner (MU): Not anything too crazy. My family and I just went out to this really great Italian place for dinner. However, I did commemorate my first day as an adult by purchasing my first ever Washington State Lottery ticket. Winning the $210,000 Hit 5 Jackpot would be excellent.
MS: You've had quite a season thus far. You started off the season well with a fourth place effort at Bob Firman and then went on to win your state meet and the Border Clash individual title. How pleased are you with your season? What was your favorite race to this point?
MU: I think I am going to have to go with State. It was an awesome race for both me and the team. We ended up getting second to Mead, which almost nobody had expected us to do, and the girls team won for the third year in a row, so everyone was going crazy on the bus ride home. State was the real focus for the season, and it ended up turning out really well for us. Winning a state title had been my dream ever since freshman year, so no matter how I do at Foot Locker, I'll still definitely be happy with the season.
MS: Foot Locker is this weekend. You've got to be pretty excited. What's the race plan heading into Saturday's competition?
MU: Based on the video of last year's race and talking with my coach, it looks like the first 400 meters are going to have to be quick. After hopefully getting out in the lead pack (but definitely not the very front), I am going to try to run a fairly conservative first mile and maintain position through the hilly second mile. Our team does a lot of hill work, so I am feeling pretty confident about this part, even though I've never run Mt. SAC before, and the hills there are legendary. If all goes well by the third mile, I am looking to be in position for a top-ten finish and a trip to San Diego the following week.
MS: Last spring you won the Golden West mile over Foot Locker favorite German Fernandez (CA). Winning such a prestigious race must have really lifted your confidence heading into this cross country season. Did that win have any effect on you?
MU: Yeah, definitely. Up to that point I'd had a pretty good, but not brilliant, track season. I had a bad knee injury all through the winter that kept me from doing any long runs, and that ended up hurting my speed endurance, especially in the 3200. Golden West helped end the season on a good note. I felt smooth and fast the whole race, and ended up pulling out the win by a tenth of a second (4:13.20-4:13.32). I got a chance to talk to German after the race and he's a really cool kid. He looks pretty unstoppable this season too. Good luck to him at FLW and FLN.
MS: The senior class this year in Washington is deep and talented. With other athletes like Ryan Prentice, Johnathan Lafler, Rob Webster, etc., what does it mean to be one of the leaders of such a great group of runners?
MU: One of the things I've noticed about this year's group of Washington runners is how we all seem to be friends. It's been fun to race my guts out against some insanely talented people, like Joey Baywater or Seth Bridges, and then be able to cool down with them afterwards, no matter who won or lost.
MS: With all of this senior talent, colleges must be really looking at Washington state this year. I am sure you get asked this every week, but have you selected a college yet?
MU: Yes. I actually verbally committed to Stanford University last week and I am very excited to start running there next fall. I've wanted to go there ever since I was in elementary school, so being accepted was a pretty big thing for me.
MS: You've progressed quite well through your high school career. What have been one or two things that have helped shape and grow you as an athlete the past four years?
MU: First of all, I've had the privilege to be coached by one of Washington's all-time greatest runners and coaches, Patty Ley. She's been such an awesome influence in my and my teammates' lives for four years now. Not only does she write killer workouts and know everything there is to know about racing, she cares about every single runner on the team, both boys and girls, from the fastest senior to the most inexperienced freshman. There aren't any coaches like Patty around anywhere else. And, of course, my team. Before I got to high school I would never have though that I'd come to be best friends with a bunch of strange, skinny people in obscenely short shorts. But I love them all now.
MS: When you aren't running or studying, what do you like to do for fun?
MU: I love to listen to oldies music, actually. We've got this absolutely brilliant state up here (97.3 KBSG) that no one (except me) under the age of about forty-five listens to; it's got all the greatest hits of the 50's, 60's and 70's, and a special "Beatles Wednesday" every week. Just off the top of my head a couple of my favorite songs would have to be "Runaway" by Del Shannon and "Rhythm of the Rain" by the Cascades. I also like to read. I've got a decent collection of books that I go through when I've got time.
MS: If you could travel to any one place in the world where would it be and why?
MU: I would very much like to take a trip to Italy. My mother's side of the family is all from there, and it's really hard to beat good Italian food. Furthermore, I might get a chance to see my dream vehicle - a bright red Italian motor scooter. If you love mopeds as much as I do, there's no better place than Italy to see them.
MS: Thanks Miles and good luck this Saturday!