Sports

Miller aims for the sky

At first glance Kris Miller appears no different than most teenagers.

He plays a variety of sports, hangs out with friends, enjoys working on the truck he will get when he is of driving age and according to his grandfather, “likes chasing the girls around.”

There is one thing, however, that separates Miller from other kids, and many adults for that matter.

At only 15-years-old, the soon-to-be sophomore at Oak Harbor High School, has solidified himself as one of the elite trap shooters in the Northwest.

“He had the third highest handicap score in the state of Washington last year out of 686 shooters,” grandfather Bob Lang said.

His handicap of .9274 ranked him not only among the best junior shooters, but anyone, of any age, who competed in the Pacific International Trap Shooting Association.

His impressive efforts over the last year also earned Miller a spot on the PITA All-Star team.

“Making the all-star team is probably the biggest thing I’ve done so far,” the soft-spoken Miller said.

In order to achieve his all-star status, Miller had to compete in five club shoots anywhere in the country, shoot 1,000 single targets, 1,000 handicap targets, 500 doubles targets and take part in two large shoots.

“It isn’t a gimme,” Lang said of making the all-star team.

Certainly not an easy sport to grasp, Miller’s success in trap shooting came fairly natural to him.

“He’s always been pretty athletic and his hand-eye coordination has always been good,” Lang said.

Lang, who has shot traps most of his life, took his grandson out to the range for the first time when he was only 10-years-old. Starting with targets straight away, he slowly moved him backwards and then began placing the targets at an angle.

“It’s been a learning process from there, but it’s really been too easy for him,” Lang said, laughing.

Miller, who started at 18 yards back from the line is now at 26 yards back, only one yard shy of the maximum 27 yards.

Both his grandparents agree that Miller’s quick success has come from an ability to remain focused and never let his head get too big.

“He keeps his head really well and he’s not cocky about his shooting,” grandmother Nancy Lang said.

Miller will take part in two major competitions in July, starting with the state championship shoot in Olympia on July 7. Two weeks later, he will travel to the Grand, which involves top shooters from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia.

While at these large competitions, Miller hopes to again make some noise and earn some prize money in the process.

As for long term goals, he is aiming high.

“I would like to get into the (PITA) hall of fame,” Miller said.

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