sophomore high jumper Bram Miller just did what came naturally when he was incorrectly credited with a state record last Friday in Selma: He told the truth.
The 6-foot, 145-pound sophomore was one of three athletes to clear 6 feet, 6 inches during Alabama's Class 1A state finals, but won the title on fewer misses. All three attempted 6-8 and he twice got extremely close to clearing it, only to brush off the bar with his heel. He then was allowed to try 6-6 1/2 (the 1A record is 6-6 1/4), but didn't have much energy left and missed all three attempts.
Miller told MaxPreps, "When I went to the podium to get my gold medal and (an official) said, 'I heard you got the state record (6-8).' I replied, 'No, sir. I got 6-6.'"
Well, it was announced at 6-8, anyway, and was not corrected until the next morning. Meanwhile, he and his family had to accept congratulations and immediately explain that he actually did not set a record.
Miller, who regularly attends New Life Church of God in Falkville, explained, "My parents (Jeff and Dree Miller) have always told me to tell the truth and do what's right. I would have felt guilty if I wouldn't have said anything."
His coaches and meet officials were lavish in their praise of the youngster's honesty.
Ron Ingram, who is the director of communications for the Alabama High School Athletic Association, commented, "We act surprised but we shouldn't be. Kids have much more integrity than we give them credit for. It was an honest mistake (by the high jump official). The boy was very emphatic. He pursued it himself and got his coach to help. It was better than a correction - it was a tribute to good sportsmanship."
Falkville coach Keith Wilemon related, "I was not surprised. He came to us immediately after we got back to the motel. I appreciate his honesty."
Wilemon's wife and assistant coach, Karen, pointed out, "It's something I'd expect from him and his family. That's just the way he's been raised.They are wonderful people and outstanding in our community."
Miller's on-the-field feats are just as special as his honesty.
Because he also was the starting JV baseball center fielder and used as a pinch runner on the varsity squad, he had been able to compete in just a few meets and had only about two full weeks of practice leading up to the state tourney.
After clearing a best of 5-8 as a freshman, he came into his own this year despite severely limited practice time. He hit 6-0 about a month ago and leaped 6-4 in the sectional a week before the state meet.
When he cleared 6-6 at the state, he recalled, "As soon as I hit that I let out a really loud yell and hugged my friends. I was very excited. I didn't think I could get it this year."
Suddenly the sky is the limit.
Miller revealed, "Next year I'm going to focus on track. I'm doing a summer track program and I'm not going to play baseball. Next year I'm going for 7 feet."