Miles Schoedler began the indoor track and field season as one of southern New Jersey's best distance runners.

He finished the season as one of the state's best and a runner with a national profile.

Schoedler led Ocean City High School to the state Group III championship. He won the state Group III 800- and 1,600-meter individual titles.

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Schoedler ran the mile in several national meets, including the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The senior, who is headed to Georgetown University on a scholarship, is The Press Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

"I got the chance to get my name out there on a national level, which is very very cool," Schoedler said.

Schoedler won the South Jersey Group III cross country championship last fall.

But he was disappointed with the way his cross country season ended. Schoedler finished 21st at the Meet of Champions in November.

He used that disappointment as motivation for the indoor season.

His first goal was qualifying for the Millrose Games, which is one of the world's best known indoor meets.

"As soon as cross country was over, (Schoedler) was ready to go," Ocean City distance coach Bill Moreland said. "It wasn't, 'I want to quality for Millrose.' It was, 'I'm going to qualify for Millrose.' "

Schoedler earned a spot in the Millrose Games by winning the mile at the Hispanic Games in New York on Jan. 9.

He finished fourth in the Millrose on Jan. 28 but that was just the start of his season.

He went on to win the mile at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on Feb. 5. He won two state Group III individual titles - the first of his career - Feb. 19.

He finished third in the mile at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle on Feb. 27.

"I looked forward to every weekend going to a different city and racing the top kids in the country," Schoedler said. "It's something special."

Schoedler not only excelled on the track this winter he also did well in the classroom. His grade-point average this winter was 4.7 - an all-time high for him.

But for all his individual achievements, Ocean City's team championship highlighted Schoedler's season.

The Red Raiders have featured some of the region's best distance runners but the Ocean City boys had never won a state title in cross country or indoor and outdoor track until this winter.

"To go down in history as the first team to win a state title is really special," Schoedler said. "It's something I'll carry with me forever."

The Ocean City coaching staff is one of the state's best. The staff, led by head coach Debbie Cathcart and assistant Bill Moreland, guided the Red Raiders to the state Group III championship.

Moreland is regarded as one of the state's top distance coaches. Cathcart gives much of the credit for the team's success to him.

The Red Raiders also got help from volunteer assistants Matt Purdue, who is the head coach in cross country and outdoor track; Terry O'Connor, who teaches the team yoga to stay relaxed and stay focused; and John Oberg, whose specialty is the pole vault.

"All the success really goes out to the coaches," Schoedler said. "They make sure you're ready to race and do something special."

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