KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Bryce Miller was a senior in high school in his hometown of Ashland, Wisconsin, his younger twin brothers were only seventh-graders. The three Millers were never on the same team in anything they did: basketball or the family business of running.
But thanks to bad luck and then good fortune, Bryce Miller and his brothers, Walker and Maury, are teammates for one season at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
"His dad said, 'Well, we never thought this would happen,'" UMKC assistant track coach Brett Guemmer said.
It all started when Bryce Miller broke his foot last year. It was his senior year, and since he had already red-shirted, five years of eligibility were spent.
Not only did Miller think his collegiate running career was over, but also any chance of a professional career. He had finished 10th in the steeplechase at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
"I was like, 'What am I going to do here?'" Miller said.
A year of rehabilitation allowed Miller to move past the injury, and then came an answer to the Roos' and Miller's long-shot: He had been granted a rare sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
"It was a pretty cool moment," Miller said. "We were all throwing high fives and hugs."
Miller would be able to compete again and, moreover, do so with his brothers, who were incoming freshmen at UMKC.
So far, the three brothers have run one race together, the steeplechase at the University of Nebraska in early February. Bryce finished first, while Walker and Maury placed fourth and fifth.
"Just being at the starting line with him was pretty different because I'm used to having Maury on my side, but I was like, 'Yeah, this is pretty cool,'" Walker Miller said.
Bryce continues to train for the NCAA Nationals in the steeplechase with his eyes on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials.