By Johanna Gretschel, FloTrack l Link
If you could see inside DaJour Miles' bedroom, you'd get a sneak peek at the inner mental workings of a track star.
On the walls are motivational quotes: "I Can, I Will, End Of Story" and "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." There are layers of sticky notes with time objectives for various events -- when one objective is met, another goes on top. Right now, those Post-its read "53.5" and "23."
But all those goals are secondary to Miles' main motivation: winning her third consecutive 400m title next week in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at the AAU Junior Olympic Games. Miles says it's a feat that will be even tougher than the Illinois state title she won in May, partly due to the lingering injuries she's suffered in her hamstring and hip flexor.
"In the 400m, I want to three-peat. I know it's gonna be tough competition so I gotta keep training," she told FloTrack over the phone.
Miles, who turns 16 this week, also goes by "Cinnamon," a nickname coined by her mother. She's had an interesting journey in the sport of track and field. Before entering high school, she was nationally competitive in the 100m, 200m, and 400m with times of 11.9, 24.10, and 54.08. She won two AAU Junior Olympic Games titles in the 200m and 400m. As a freshman she didn't compete in the Illinois prep season because of a disagreement with her coach at Waubonsie Valley High School. Instead, she continued to train with her Aurora Flyers track club coach Thomas Boatright.
Emotions were running high before the state final.
"I was kinda scared I wouldn't finish. My leg was really bothering me but I didn't want to let West Aurora down," she said. "I was scared of not winning because the people on the intercom were like, 'DaJour Miles is a national champion,' and I didn't want to let anybody down."
Welch got out quick and held a lead at the 150m mark, but Miles kept her composure and closed the gap at 200m, holding on for the win in 54.75 over Welch's 55.50.