Athlete of the Month: Lou Mialhe

Lou Mialhe ‘16 dropped basketball and lacrosse for track because she preferred a more individual sport. But now as a captain of the track team, Mialhe finds that she holds more responsibility over others than ever before. “I have to be more attentive to others and I have to spend less time worrying about myself. There’s a higher responsibility level because of people around me, and younger runners that I have to take care of.” Mialhe started running in sixth grade, and since then she has compiled a body of work that includes the girl’s PHS 5k record, being ranked seventh in the nation at the steeplechase, which is a 3km event with 28 barriers that a runner must vault, and participating in varsity cross country, winter track and spring track every year that she has been at PHS.

A distance runner and 400m hurdler, Mialhe started competing in the steeplechase due to the event combining the best of both worlds. “The steeplechase combines the hurdling aspect and the distance aspect, so I found it to be the perfect fit for me, and that’s why I like it so much,” she said. This year Mialhe qualified for nationals in the event.

Mialhe attributes her success to her team and coaches. She acknowledges the competitive edge gained from having other to athletes train with. “I know that there are some schools that have good runners, but they train alone and they don’t have the support that I get my from teammates.”

Mialhe considers Head Coach James Smirk integral to her success, citing his understanding of her as an athlete and changes he made to accommodate her progress on the track. “[Coach Smirk] knows what I can do and he knows what I am capable of. It’s difficult to read someone like that and know how to adjust training and adjust for making them the best athlete, and my coach really knows me in that way,” Mialhe said.

The sport has no end for Mialhe, who has ran every season for the past four years to maintain her level of competition. “I get like one or two weeks off all year, and otherwise I’m just constantly training,” she said.

This year the work has paid dividends, and with the help of Mialhe, the girls track and field team went undefeated in the season leading up to spring sectionals. They will attempt to bounce back from a loss at winter sectionals, where Mialhe ran the half-mile, mile, and two mile. Victory slipped through the teams fingers following a disqualification at the event.

On the day of a meet, the competition consumes Mialhe. “All day, of course, I’m in the zone, I just visualize my race, the beginning, the middle and the end, usually I know my competitors, I know who I’m racing and who I need to beat, and I visualize exactly what I want to do during the whole race,” she said.

Six years of running has changed Mialhe on personal level “I moved from being someone who sits behind their limits to someone who tries to surpass their limits. I know myself better now.”

Mialhe hopes to continue to surpass her limits on the Rutgers University Track Team.

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