The Monmouth County Track and Field Championships for outdoor track are set to get underway on Wednesday at Holmdel High School, but this looks to be only the beginning for Long Branch senior sprinter Miles Shuler when it comes to rounding into championship form.
The defending NJSIAA Meet of Champions winner in the 100 meters and a Rutgers football recruit, Shuler recently took two weeks off to visit his mother and two younger brothers, who live in San Diego. That put a kink in his training as he prepares for a string of championship meets in which he will be called upon to rack up points for the Green Wave in the sprints.
The good news is that he recently ripped off a 10.6-second 100-meter time in a dual meet, which was hand-timed. Shuler said the time was actually 10.56 and was rounded up. Had Shuler turned that time in during an invitational meet, it would been the fastest in the state this spring, just ahead of the 10.61 run by Timber Creek’s Damiere Byrd, a football star headed to South Carolina. That shows that Shuler isn’t that far away from peak form.
“I got a few workouts in when I was visiting my mom and family, but I fell a little behind,’’ Shuler said. “Now I’m kicking it back up.’’
This past weekend, Shuler helped lead a banner effort by the Green Wave in competing in his final Long Branch Relays on his home track. Shuler anchored the winning teams in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 to give the local fans a reason to celebrate.
“I was just out here to compete for my team,’’ he said. “I had a lot of family and friends here, so I just came out to put on a show.’’
Shuler now looks to kick it into gear with the county championships arriving. He certainly has experience in peaking at the end while working with constraints on his schedule, which he showed during the indoor track season in the winter. Despite missing time to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a football all-star game featuring some of the top talent in the nation, Shuler recovered to win the indoor MOC title in the 55-meter dash.
He ran his best time of the season, 6.39, to edge Ewing’s Kadeem Douse in a photo finish after losing to Douse in the Group II championship race.
That gives Shuler the confidence to hopefully hit his target of a state-record time of 10.2 in the 100 by the end of the outdoor season. He ran a 10.39 to win last year’s MOC title, the second-fastest time in state history and the 12th-fastest time in the nation last year.
“I know guys are going for theirs and that there is a target on my back, but that just makes me set my own targets for myself,’’ he said.
First he looks to combine with fellow senior sprinter Steve Worsley to pick up a pile of points in the sprints and help the Green Wave make some noise as a team in the county championships.
In the meantime, he has also been preparing for Rutgers, where he will head on June 21 to officially get his career started. A quarterback in high school, Shuler is expected to be converted to a wide receiver for the Scarlet Knights because of his game-changing speed and all-around athleticism.
He has been working out every Sunday at Monmouth University with Manalapan quarterback Mike Bimonte and St. Peter’s Prep running back Savon Huggins, who is a Jackson resident and the No. 1 recruit in the state for the Class of 2011. Bimonte and Huggins are also part of the banner recruiting class at Rutgers.
“I just work on routes, catching and cutting ability,’’ Shuler said. “I want to be ready when I get to Rutgers in June.’’
Shuler also looks to be just the first of two major Division I-A recruits in two years for the Long Branch football team, as current junior offensive lineman Ryan Brodie is up to 10 Division I-A scholarship offers, including Rutgers and Southeastern Conference power South Carolina.
“He’s the next superstar in line,’’ Shuler said about his close friend. “I just want him to make the best decision for him. It’s stressful, and I’m not the type of person to keep pressuring him (to commit to Rutgers).’’
Before Shuler can worry about the gridiron, he wants to end on a high note with multiple championships in his final track season.
“I’m far ahead of where I was at this time last year, so exciting things should be happening by the end of the year,’’ he said.