Coach Kirsten Miller-Zisholz says Hannah is a fierce competitor who thrives on the pressure of performing for the crowd. “She's got a tough battle ahead of her. There's a lot of great U.S. figure skaters right now. Ashley Wagner, our past national champion, Gracie Gold is a favorite. The third spot seems to be up in the air at this point and I think Hannah would love to sneak in there somehow. So, I always tell her shoot for the moon, you might land in the stars.”
Williamston High School student Hannah Miller has a shot to make the 2014 Olympic Skating Team. The 17 year-old figure skater’s journey begins Friday when she takes the ice at her home rink in East Lansing.
The Lansing Skating Club and Suburban Ice Arena are hosting the U.S. Figure Skating Association’s Midwestern Sectionals. The top four in each category will qualify for the U.S. Nationals in Boston, the final competition before the U.S. Olympic figure skating team is named.
Hannah Miller has Mid-Michigan roots and a last name with a legacy. Her dad is Kevin Miller, a former Michigan State University hockey player, 1 of 5 Millers to play in the National Hockey League, and a member of the 1988 USA hockey team. Kevin Miller said, “Looking back it was a great experience, and its some of the best moments of my life .” Daughter Hannah has Olympic dreams too. “I haven't been thinking too much about the Olympics, of course, it's a dream and if not this year, the next year, and it will always be back there but what I have been thinking about most is just making jumps to get there and keep training as hard as I can to be the best that I can and that's all I can control.”
Hannah relies on another Miller to keep her in control. Her coach, is her dad’s sister, Kirsten Miller Zisholz. Miller-Zisholz agrees this Olympic dream is all in the family. “I would love for her to make the Olympic team, but I know that the hype is not on her at this point, and so if anything, she's an underdog in the race and maybe it will work to her advantage.”
Hannah had to take a break from international competition this year, to have surgery to remove a cyst and scar tissue from her ankle. Hannah’s mother Cheryl says the surgery was performed in early August. “She had pain and had trouble pointing her toe. We knew that it was a surgery by choice because if we didn't do the surgery she couldn't progress in figure skating like we wanted her to.” The family says it was a scary decision, but Hannah made a quick recovery. Hannah said, “Every week I noticed jumps to get better but I was still not, like at that full potential as fast as I wanted to be but now I am and I couldn't be happier and I’m without pain so I'm super excited.”
On Friday and Saturday, Miller will skate before fans on her home rink. “It should be really exciting to have all my family here, all my friends here and most of all I just want to go out on the ice and do the best that I can.”
Miller-Zisholz says Hannah is a fierce competitor who thrives on the pressure of performing for the crowd. “She's got a tough battle ahead of her. There's a lot of great U.S. figure skaters right now. Ashley Wagner, our past national champion Gracie Gold is a favorite. The third spot seems to be up in the air at this point and I think Hannah would love to sneak in there somehow. So, I always tell her shoot for the moon, you might land in the stars.”
Miller performs her short program Friday night at 6:20 Suburban Ice in East Lansing.
She takes the ice again Saturday afternoon at 1:25 for her freestyle performance.
Miller's younger sister Braedyn also made it to the Midwestern Sectionals. The 12 year-old is among the top 36 juvenile skaters in the country.