West Aurora's Miles overcame adversity to excel
Time flies, and that's especially true for recent West Aurora graduate Dajour Miles.
Like a blur sprinting down the track in the 400 meters, Miles' days with the Blackhawks went by in a blink of an eye.
As a sophomore, Miles ran the 400 meters in 54.75 seconds to win the Class 3A state championship at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
"I was a little nervous," Miles said from Lexington, Ky., where she already is preparing for her freshman season in the SEC with the University of Kentucky.
"I had to go out there and do what I had to do. It wasn't my first time running so I had to suck it up and go out there and run. It felt really good winning state. It was a good achievement."
A year later, Miles returned to the state meet and repeated her 400 title with a time of 54.72.
"I really enjoyed winning it again," Miles said. "I knew it was going to be tough. I just had to go out and push it and give everything I have."
Miles finished high school at West Aurora last month at the state meet by just missing a third straight state title in the 400, running a 55.27 to finish second to Ashanti Denton from Homewood-Flossmoor (54.45). Miles also anchored West Aurora's 400-meter relay team that took fifth and she finished ninth in the 200 to help the Blackhawks score 32 points and finish fourth in state -- the second best finish in school history behind only the 2014 runner-up.
Miles, the Fox Valley Female Athlete of the Year, was disappointed to barely miss a rare three-peat but gracious in defeat.
"It was very tough," Miles said. "It was great competition. Ashanti was doing her thing, she pushed me a lot. I'm pretty sure I pushed her too. It was a great race. Congratulations to her on being the new state champion. It's a great accomplishment."
Miles did all that despite several chronic hamstring injuries that came at key times in her three years at West Aurora, including one to her left hamstring in the final 25 meters of the 200 in her final high school race.
"I felt if I was 100 percent I would have done much better," Miles said. "It would have definitely helped me if I didn't go through these injuries. I basically didn't have confidence in myself because I had that what if I strained my hamstring or pulled it. I always had that what if. I wish I didn't have those injuries because it messed up my mental game."
An AAU age-group national champion in the sport before she even entered high school, Miles qualified for state in six individual events and a relay during her sophomore and junior years. Those hamstring injuries kept her from competing in all but the 400 at state her sophomore and junior year.
In addition to her state championships, Miles -- who attended Waubonsie Valley as a freshman -- leaves high school with multiple Kane County, conference and sectional championships.
She also played basketball at a high level for West Aurora, earning All-Area honorable mention as a junior and a spot on the All-Area team this past year. No surprise that no player could get down the court for a layup faster than Miles.
"I love basketball," Miles said. "It's a great sport to watch. I love watching every kind of basketball -- high school boys, girls, college basketball, NBA, WNBA, it's just a great sport. To be able to play basketball and actually be good at it was really nice because it was fun to play. I really love that sport."
Miles, nicknamed Cinnamon, is undecided on her major at Kentucky but said she is considering speech pathology.
She also said she'll always have fond memories of her high school days in Aurora.
"I enjoyed West," Miles said. "Sports was good, basketball and track. Everything was fun, a lot of great friends and coaches."