ROCK SPRINGS — Rock Springs High School senior Payton Miller signed her national letter of intent on Thursday evening to swim for Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa.
Miller has been a strong leader for the Lady Tigers throughout the years. The last two seasons, she has served as team captain, an honor that she is most proud about.
“I’m really proud of becoming captain because I’ve known all of these girls on the team since they were six in our club team,” Miller said. “It was really cool being a leader for them and helping them get to where they want to be.”
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RSHS head coach Ron DeFauw also said that Miller’s leadership and work ethic has set her apart while with the Lady Tigers and will propel her at the collegiate level.
“Going to Morningside, I know the coach and the program. It’s a really good NAIA program and they are a powerhouse in the NAIA. She’s going to be a contributor there immediately. She’ll make an impact,” DeFauw said.
Becoming a Leader
Miller started swim lessons when she was four-years-old. Initially, she wasn’t a big fan of swimming and dreaded going to lessons and practices. However, once she was in the water, the doom and gloom of swimming lessons was washed away by the fun she was having. She claimed that she wasn’t the greatest swimmer in her youth.
“I actually never passed the first level of swim lessons,” Miller said.
Eventually she crafted her skill when she joined her sister in club swimming. Miller started swimming for coach DeFauw and the Rock Springs Swim Club when she was seven. She soon found herself going to state competitions and finding success as she matured into high school.
At RSHS, Miller qualified for state all four years. She participated in numerous events which ranged from distance freestyle to the I.M. events.
For Miller, becoming team captain her junior year was a revelation to her future signing with Morningside College.
“Junior year when I became captain, I stepped up and became a good leader,” Miller said. “It was then when I decided that I was going to get in this.”
“A Good Fit”
During Thanksgiving break, Miller went on an official school visit. Part of her visit included getting to practice with the team and participate in a friendly, but fierce, game of waterpolo. She came away with a positive outlook.
“It just felt like a good fit,” Miller said.
Miller will join two other swimmers at Morningside that she personally knows. She had a couple other school she was considering, but the fact she had a support system in Iowa gave her confidence in the decision to wear maroon, black and white.
“I knew I had some friends there that would help me get through the first year so I thought it was the best choice,” Miller said.
Miller plans to study mass communications with an emphasis in journalism.
“I’m excited to hangout with the team,” Miller said. “I’m a little nervous about getting away, but at the same time I really want to get away.”