ASU twins look to bring their wit, determination to cross country team

After competing together in high school, Kate and Kylie Miller are ready to bring their leadership to the Sun Devil team for the 2021 season

In the house of Kate and Kylie Miller, competition reigns king. The twins, who are incoming freshmen to ASU's cross country program, have been competing against each other all their lives.

The competition made them two of the best runners at Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona.

"Every little thing is a competition," Kylie Miller said.

Now, they are going to bring that competitive spirit to ASU, the team they always grew up rooting for. The two began their athletic careers in soccer, eventually joining a running club in elementary school.

"We noticed we could run faster than the boys, so that was fun," Kylie Miller said. "Middle school got more competitive, then (in) high school it really took off. There's always a healthy competition between the two of us."

The two competed against each other to be the best on the team and earn scholarships to their hometown university, ASU.

"We grew up as Sun Devils, and we made it our goal to be here one day," Kate Miller said. "The real work starts now."

Bryan Idleman, the girl's coach for Perry High School cross country and track and field, watched the Millers grow up right before his eyes. Idleman helped both girls maximize their potential in unique ways.

"The big switch for Kylie was when she realized she didn't have to press and push every single day," Idleman said. "There are days where we work hard and there are days we want to take it easy and recover."

Kylie Miller would exert the same energy during rest and competitive practices to finish ahead of the boys on the team.

"When she realized she needed those easy days, that was her breakthrough moment," Idleman said.

Kate Miller, however, made her breakthrough when she focused on cleaning up her mechanics.

"She was doing some weird things with her arms and she really focused on improving that," Idleman said. "Getting in the weight room and building that strength and that form was a big deal for Kate."

Competitive spirit and leadership were the two qualities most apparent in both of them. Coach Idleman believes the twins are both "hard-working, dedicated and stubborn" and for a coach, having those qualities makes the job a lot easier.

"Not only are they working hard to improve themselves, but the kids around them see what they're doing and a lot of them aspire to do the same kind of thing," he said.

Despite being freshmen, the Millers have worked hard to make an impact in leadership roles, much in the same way they did in high school.

"Honestly, I think it's something that comes naturally," Kylie Miller said. "I'm not trying to force anything, I am there to bring everybody up and I want everybody to do well."

The duo says ASU's leadership is what drew them to the cross country program, headed by head coach Patrick Henner. For them, the fact that everyone was on the same page and shared common goals is what set ASU apart from high school running.

With the season kicking off Saturday. Sept. 18, in the UC Riverside Invitational, the team is going to need big contributions from the girls. Luckily for ASU, this duo will put pressure on themselves and each other to be at their best.

"No one can mentally or physically push one (of us) more than the other," Kate Miller said.

Kylie Miller echoed a similar sentiment to her sister, believing their competitiveness is what is going to push them to be better runners.

"It's a constant battle to see who's going to be better and to push each other," Kylie Miller said.

Reach the reporter at and follow @david_rodish on Twitter.

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