Friday Night Sports Hero: Natalie Miller
Natalie Miller has been on the North Platte diving team for only two years, but a background in dance and gymnastics allowed her to quickly excel on the diving board.
"She's got great form. Everything she does looks really good, she points those toes, takes care of the dive in the air, really good entries, she's just really particular to the little things that judges really like to see," said North Platte swim and dive coach Brian Jahnke.
In her first year competing, Miller qualified for the State diving meet, but finished in last place. This season, Miller again qualified for State, and once the regular season was over, she wrote down her goal for State, and brought it to practice the next day.
“She reaches for the stars and does her best every day," Jahnke said. "She's never afraid to try something new, she just always tries to do her best all the time. It's just what you can always expect of her."
In practice, Miller prepares for a dive the same way she would at a competition.
“I practice like I'm going to compete,” Miller said, “I do everything the same, so I stand on the board, I think about what I'm doing, and then just do the dive. I think practicing like I'm going to be competing helps me a lot."
In addition to her background as a gymnast, Miller is able to excel because of the hard work she puts in.
"She's willing to push herself to do some dives that a lot of people are afraid of," said teammate Jonathan Brouillette. “Especially last year, Natalie learned her list, pushed through that fear, and learned her list quick, and she's just been perfecting it since last year."
When her teammates are diving, Miller is always there with words of encouragement, and is always supportive after a poor dive.
"If you don't do a dive so well and come out of the water, it's not easy to see all these faces looking at you. She's always the first one to give kudos, and a ‘do your best next time,’" Jahnke said.
When she isn’t diving, dancing, or at gymnastics, Miller still spends a lot of time at the pool, working as a lifeguard at the North Platte Rec Center.
Next year, Miller will head to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where she will study political science in the honors program.