Ethan Mielock has had a long and successful run as a member of the Pioneer cross country team and track and field team. As he heads to the finish line of his high school career, let’s back up and begin at the starting line and how it all started for the senior runner.
“I find it funny myself, I got into cross country and track in middle school by trying to make the five sport banner at Slauson,” Mielock says of his introduction to running. “Joining the cross country and track team were required to get the tiny title, so I joined the team and had no running experience prior to sixth grade. I don’t think I was planning on continuing to run after getting on that banner.”
As it turns out, the “tiny title” led to much bigger things.
“I ended up falling in love with the sport that season,” he said. “I had a lot of friends on the team and enjoyed the training for cross country. Later that year I signed up for track as well and fell in love with it.”
Seven years later, Mielock is still running and plans to continue in college.
“Life is funny like that,” he says. “You can never predict how things will turn out.”
A former soccer player, it took Mielock a little bit of time to adjust to the difference in pace. While in sixth grade, he finished fifth in the city wide cross country meet at Scarlet.
His middle school coach Jon Strite realized he had something special with Mielock, Nick Foster, John Florence, Zac Williston and Paul Sutton.
“I think we were able to show our skill early on,” Mielock says.
There were a number of things Mielock liked about cross country compared to other sports.
“I think the main thing I enjoyed about cross country and track was just how straightforward it was,” he says. “Pass people in the race as a team. That was the goal. There was no having to worry about how good the defense was or if the offense needs to improve. It was everyone just going for it together.
“The training also for track and cross country was way more adventurous than other sports. I just love distance runs with the team, it is a chance to be together and get to see the Ann Arbor area. We would do runs in middle school where we would run out to the Huron River and back, and I found that just exhilarating.”
These runs led to plenty of success at Pioneer. The highlight, of course, being the state championship during his junior year.
“Yeah, winning the state championship was definitely one of the personal highlights my career at Pioneer,” Mielock said. “I was very proud I could represent Pioneer on the seven-man team at states and help lead us to a state championship. It was such a unique moment in each of our lives. I just remember having this incredible piercing feeling of joy and amazement; all the hard work finally paid off. A couple of us were crying in the moment.”
Mielock also had a tough hurdle to clear heading into his senior season. A stress fracture in his tibia the summer before this season slowed him down heading into the cross country season.
He was in a recovery boot for two months and couldn’t run.
“I just kept going hard throughout my recovery process, determined to run on varsity my senior year,” he said. “I ended up getting cleared to run right before the Portage meet and was able to run at states with my team as a senior.”
Despite missing so much training, Mielock still finished 40th at the state finals with a time of 16:30.3. The Pioneers placed sixth as a team.
Ethan, the son of Sue and Tim Mielock, also is in the Interact Volunteer Club, DECA Business Competition Club and started PiHi Engineering Club at Pioneer.
In the spring, Mielock plans on running the mile, two mile, and 800 meters for the track team. This will be the final lap for this talented group of seniors.
“I really hope our whole team can go out on a strong note,” he says. “After so much time together and success, I just want to finish strong as our coach would say, with the team. On a competing level, I believe we can all run some of our fastest and most competitive races this season.
“All of the pieces in the college puzzle are finally being put together and each of us are getting our own bright futures. I think myself and the others are just very excited for what the future holds. I feel like everything is slowly coming together for each of our futures and it is truly beautiful.”
Mielock’s future will be at Arizona State where he plans to study business and try to walk on – well, run on – the ASU cross country team.
“I picked ASU because they had an excellent business program and the school was willing to commit to me,” he said. “ASU was very generous with the scholarships and provided me so much aid. They were genuinely interested in me both academically and athletically and that was very refreshing.”