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Athlete of the Month

By Colin Anderson

Lauren Foster, Senior

Coeur d’Alene High School

For many, simply completing a 1-mile run is an achievement, and the time is not important. For Coeur d’Alene High School senior Lauren Forster, a mile is hardly a warmup. Lauren is one of the most decorated track-and-field athletes in the state’s history. She’s run varsity cross country and track in all four years, even placing in the state tournament her freshman year. She holds the Coeur d’Alene High School 5k record of 17:41 and has run the 1600m in a time of 5:05. Lauren was named Junior Olympic All-American and this season earned Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame Women's Cross-Country Athlete of the Year.

She is dedicated to constantly improving her craft through hard work every day while also enjoying the moment. “The part that I enjoy the most about my sport is the challenge I face every day in pushing past my comfort zone, and the joy that comes from being able to just run, free to enjoy every stride,” she said.

Lauren says the biggest challenge she has faced in her sport is being able to adapt to what she cannot change and learn to fight through setbacks in order to keep making progress and improving. She also believes doing the right thing and being of strong character is a full-time commitment. “One life lesson I have learned over my years of running is that character is shown through more in the small moments than through the large ones, and it is how you act when no one is watching that truly defines you,” she explained.

An equally hard worker in the classroom, Lauren carries a 4.0 GPA and is dual enrolled at North Idaho College, where she is also on the Dean’s List. She is continuing to weigh offers and decisions on her future as a runner, including a possible acceptance into the Naval Academy. Following in the steps of her mother, Lauren plans to study nursing.

“Some of my career interests include nursing and chemistry, because growing up with my mother being not only a nurse but a true role model has inspired me to follow in her footsteps.”

Jaya Miller, Senior

Lake City High School

Photo by Cheryl Nichols

While offensive players tend to get the headlines, defenders are equally important in all sports. You might have a dynamite offense, but without a solid defense backing it up, the team is unlikely to achieve its goals. Lake City High School senior Jaya Miller anchored the Timberwolves’ defense, and the stats and accolades certainly back up the fact she’s one of the best around. “I have learned that hard work and preparation are critical to accomplishing your goals,” she said.

That hard work and effort has paid off for Jaya, who has racked up some impressive accomplishments over her volleyball career. She was an Inland Empire All-League selection in both her junior and senior campaigns. She shared Defensive Player of the Year honors her junior year and won the award outright after her senior season. She also led the entire state of Idaho in digs this fall. “I simply love to compete and be a part of a team with a common goal,” said Jaya.

Her skill set has earned her a place on the North Idaho College women’s volleyball team next season. A lifelong Coeur d’Alene resident, Jaya is familiar with the program and hopes the coaching and experience will help her take the leap to competing at the highest levels at a four-year college or university. Her determination to achieve her goals will not end with her final high school season. “My biggest challenge in sports has been dealing with a tough loss. I will do whatever I can to compete and win,” she said.

Jaya takes her work in the classroom seriously as well. She carries a 3.9 GPA and was nominated to the National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. She wants to major in business administration and hopes to one day own and operate her own business.

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