Impressive jumper: Marquette’s Raffy Millado puts on last show with pair of wins at Upper Peninsula track and field finals

Marquette’s Raffy Millado competes in the Division 1 boys’ high jump during the MHSAA Upper Peninsula track and field finals held Saturday in Kingsford. On this attempt, Millado clears the bar set at 6-foot-3, his winning leap in the event. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

Up next: More stories from the U.P. track and field finals will be featured this week in Mining Journal sports, and look for a full listing of point scorers in all 3 divisions of the finals

on Tuesday

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KINGSFORD — There are some athletes who are just a step above others and that’s how Marquette head boys track and field coach Kyle Detmers describes Raffy Millado.

“We weren’t created equal and Raffy has just got, whatever it is, he’s got it,” Detmers said Saturday at the Division 1 Upper Peninsula Finals. “He’s just so springy and poppy, but really just a great person, too.

“I coach them as people first, then athletes. He came back and got fourth in the 200-(meter dash). You get a kid like that once in a great while and he just had a really good day. He did a great job.”

Marquette's Raffy Millado competes in the Division 1 boys' high jump during the MHSAA Upper Peninsula track and field finals held Saturday in Kingsford. On this attempt, Millado clears 6-foot-1, the only jumper the make it over 6-feet as he won by making 6-3. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

Millado definitely has something as he repeated as U.P. champion in both the high jump and long jump. He exceeded his jump distances in both events from last year and came close to breaking the U.P. record in the high jump, but couldn’t quite clear that high of a bar.

He cleared 6-foot-3 in the Division 1 high jump on Saturday, the only participant making it over 6-feet, and leapt 20-7 in the long jump, the only one making it past 20 feet in D-1.

The senior said that he’s been doing the high jump since middle school and approaches the event by simply focusing on the task at hand.

“I started in eighth grade,” Millado said. “I thought I’d try it for the first time and I loved it. At that point, I knew I just had a natural ability for it and throughout the years, I just kept at it and practicing it.

“I just like to visualize myself getting over it. I try not to think about it because when you start to think about it, that’s when you start making mistakes, and that goes for anything in track, I think. You want to just be natural.”

Millado is a natural fit in the long jump as well, considering he said he never practices it but still managed to win back-to-back U.P. titles.

“I tried it for the first time my freshmen year and that also turned out to be something that I was really good at, so I stuck with it,” he said. “I’ve never practiced it before. I only just do it at meets.”

Millado hasn’t just found success on the track, though. He also was part of the Redmen’s last two boys soccer titles in the U.P. and was an All-Great Northern Conference Second Teamer in the basketball the past two years, helping the Redmen win its first district title since 2013 in February.

However, track is what he’s known for, but those days are probably coming to an end as he doesn’t plan on competing in college next spring.

“I’m going to the University of Michigan and right now, I don’t plan on doing any sports or anything,” Millado said. “But if there’s an opportunity to maybe try to get on the track team, that’d be a dream come true.”

His track career might be over, but Millado will be leaving quite an impression on the Redmen squad as well as with Detmers.

“As far as high jump, he’s jumped higher than anybody I’ve ever coached,” Detmers said. “I’ve seen him go 6-foot-5 and 6-6. Long jump, I’ve seen him go over 21 feet. Those are some big numbers. For up here in a cold spring, it’s hard to do that for a jumper and he really survived through the year. He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.