116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
WALKER — Do you suffer from North Linn Fatigue (also known as Lynx Envy)?
Do you wonder how this small school has become a nearly-across-the-board athletics juggernaut?
Nicole Miller has the answer.
“It’s a testament to the youth programs,” she said. “Everybody in Lynx Country loves their sports, and they get their kids involved at a young age.”
“It seems every time I’m on Twitter, somebody has won a state championship,” Miller said.
Unforgettable teams are born from uncommon athletes. Nicole Miller was The Gazette’s 2015 Female Athlete of the Year. Ryan Miller followed with the Male Athlete of the Year award in 2018.
They are the lone sister-brother winning combination.
“I credit it a lot to our parents (David and Sheri Miller were North Linn athletes a generation ago),” Ryan said. “They drove all over Kingdom Come to get us the proper coaching and workouts. They did everything to help us succeed at a high level.”
Nicole, 25, was named Miss Iowa Basketball 2015 after a career that featured 2,207 points, and she was a 10-time state champion in track (all in relays) and was a four-time state qualifier in cross country.
She went on to play basketball at Drake University, where she was a member of two NCAA tournament teams.
Ryan, 23, carved his own path at North Linn, excelling in four sports (football, basketball, track and baseball) and lettering 16 times. He was well acquainted with Drake Stadium, Wells Fargo Arena and Principal Park in Des Moines.
Despite standing less than 6 feet tall, he became a three-time all-conference basketball player and 1,000-point scorer at Grand View University, earning NAIA All-America recognition as a senior.
He will play a fifth year, at NCAA Division-II Augustana (S.D.).
“I was quicker than most of the people I played against in college,” Ryan said. “Out of high school, I don’t think a lot was expected out of me, and that fueled me.”
Nicole is doing rotations as a physician assistant student at the University of Iowa. She is engaged to be married next June to Graham Woodward, a former Drake men’s basketball player.
“Looking back, it’s crazy where the time went,” she said. “In a way, it feels like it’s been the blink of an eye. In another way, it feels so long ago.
“There’s something very special about North Linn. There’s something to be said about going to a smaller school. We got to know a lot of people and take advantage of a lot of opportunities.”
The third Miller sibling, Austin, received heavy Athlete of the Year consideration in 2020.