Columbus native Miller-Koch takes talents to Rio - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Columbus native Miller-Koch takes talents to Rio

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COLUMBUS, Wis. (WKOW) -- Out on this county road in Columbus, Heather Miller-Koch realized her dream. 

"She was gonna milk cows in the morning, go to work, be a nurse, come back at night and milk cows again, " says mother Michele Miller with a smile. 
In reality, she would become a nurse but her days of showing cattle were put to the side when another, bigger dream, came into full focus.

That dream contains Olympic gold. 

"This has been her goal for a long time, " Columbus track & field coach Marlin Hensler said as a group of high schoolers hit the track on Wednesday afternoon. 

Hensler, who has coached the Cardinals for 18 years, remembers when Heather stepped into the lane for the first time that there was a future Olympian in the making. 

"She lived to be pushed and she lived to compete. She was the type of girl you wanted to run last on your relays because you knew she was gonna give it everything she had to win."

After capturing numerous state titles as a Cardinal, she went on to become a two-sport athlete at St. Cloud State where she was a 10-time All American. 
And when her collegiate career ended, she wasn't quite ready to hang up the cleats, setting her sights on the Olympic Games. 

"Don't you want like, just be a nurse and start your regular life?", Michele recalls asking her daughter. "She said, "Nope, I'm not done.""

So in November of 2015, Heather and her husband/trainer, Ryan, packed up their things, took a year long sabbatical from nursing, and moved to train full time at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.

Then last month at the U.S. Track & Field Trials, she took second place in the heptathlon, officially making her biggest dream a reality. 

"To watch her at the Olympic trials and realize that she was an Olympian, "says Hensler, holding back tears, "It was amazing."


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