By Sean Collins
College is intended for people to mature and grow up so they are ready to face the “real world” once they graduate. Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Fred Harvey was able to sign a freshman that has maturing to do, like all students in college, but success on the track is something that freshman Miles Parish is already quite accustomed to.
Parish, a freshman from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., prepped at Etiwanda High School. It’s his stature in person that makes others take notice. He certainly stands out on the track and field team. He’s 6-6 and has a flat top that also adds a few inches to his already tall frame.
Harvey saw Parish compete at the 2013 Mt. SAC Relays. The meet is for high school students, as well as collegiate and professional athletes. Harvey was coaching the Wildcats but also got some recruiting done. Once contact was made, Parish decided to attend the University of Arizona and he has enjoyed it.
“He saw me at the Mt. SAC Relays,” Parish said. “Then my dad contacted him about me going to Arizona. It’s a lot smaller here than it is in California but I like it. It’s not as hot as a I thought it would be either.”
Fall workouts can always be daunting for incoming freshman because it’s a complete unknown and help from the veteran student-athletes only goes so far. Parish did not seem overwhelmed one bit.
“The workouts are similar in some ways and different in some ways,” Parish said. “I’m used to working hard and doing hard workouts. My old coach used to really work you; I threw up multiple times when I first started working out with him. So he got me in shape for Coach Harvey’s workouts. They are kind of similar but Coach Harvey does more speed and technique drills.”
After a semester together, Harvey came away very impressed with Parish’s willingness to do the work. But, coaching Parish is an experience unlike any other for Harvey.
“He is extremely raw,” Harvey said. “It’s not a negative or a knock on him, but he is the most immature physical individual I have ever worked with in my entire life. I’ve never had a student-athlete at his level that is as physically immature as he is.”
Physical immaturity and all, Parish clocked a time of 46.53 in the 400-meter run in high school and won the CIF State Championship in the event. His personal-best time was good for a school record at Etiwanda and ranked as the No. 7 time in the country for 2013.
“What makes it really exciting, because with all of that being said, he was the California State Champion in the 400 meters, he ran 1:19.16 for his 600-meter run in December,” Harvey added. “He has all of those intangibles along with being one of the fiercest competitors you will ever see. Those things combined give him a wide-open window to be able to have great success.”
Parish will continue to run the 400 meters at Arizona. But he is branching out and trying something new with Harvey.
“I’ve never really hurdled before,” Parish said. “Well, I dabbled in the 300-meter hurdles in high school but that’s it. Now, I’m making the switch to do the 400-meter hurdles.”
Parish has put his trust into Harvey to teach something new at this stage of his career and, thus far, Parish has been impressed.
“The adjustment to the hurdles has been pretty good,” Parish said. “Coach Harvey knows what he’s talking about and I know he’s helped me a lot already with my technique.”
Certainly Harvey’s work with former Wildcat and now volunteer assistant coach Georganne Moline would give him instant credibility with the upcoming athletes. Being able to train with the Olympian is an added bonus for Parish.
“It’s nice to get her perspective on things,” Parish said. “She’s been from the bottom all the way to the top so she’s helpful.”
With the 2014 indoor season getting underway this weekend, Parish has set goals for himself that he would like to achieve. With his level of talent and Harvey’s coaching prowess, the freshman has set the bar high.
“I’ve never run on an indoor track before,” Parish said. “But my goal is to make it to the NCAA Championships in the 400 meters and the 4x400-meter relay.”
Indoor tracks are 200 meters and banked whereas outdoor tracks are 400 meters and are not banked. Also, the 400-meter hurdles are not an event during indoor track, only the 60-meter hurdles. Outdoors, Parish will look to flourish and help a strong men’s team finish in the top 10 once again at the NCAA Championships.
“I want to make it to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 400-meter hurdles and the 4x400-meter relay,” Parish said. “I also want to run 45 seconds in the 400-meter sprint. This coming outdoor season, I would like start off with a time of 51 seconds in the hurdles. I would like to finish around 48 or 47 seconds.”
Harvey has high praise for Parish’s work ethic and is very confident that he will be successful in the classroom and on the track at Arizona.
“As a student-athlete, this guy works as hard, if not harder than anybody you’ll meet in your life,” Harvey said. “He has this fear of failure. You watch him go about his day-to-day work and the effort he puts in, he’s going to get it done. I’m very pleased with where Miles is at in this stage of his career.”