Union’s Callie Mills has earned her place atop the Greater St. Helens League; qualified for a spot in the regional round
BREMERTON – Callie Mills started her golf career at Camas Meadows when she was 12 years old.
“It’s kind of like my second home,” said Mills, a senior playing on the varsity squad for Union High School.
Although when she first set foot on the course, it wasn’t like setting foot in Disneyland.
“I remember being so frustrated because the course is pretty long and difficult for a beginner to play,” she said. “It’s amazing to look back and see the improvement I’ve made over the years. I’ve had a lot of hard experiences that helped me learn from my mistakes.”
“When Callie was in 9th/10th grade, she would get so nervous for competitions that her true ability wouldn’t come out,” said Gary Mills, Callie’s father and the Union High School Golf’s head coach.
“As she matured, she focused on being a team leader and having fun and this cleared the way for better scores,” he said.
Callie helped lead the girls team to a 7-3 overall record and would qualify for the 4A GSHL District tournament, May 6-7 at the Tri-Mountain Golf Course in Ridgefield.
The first day went well as Callie shot a 94. The second day was a little more strenuous as she shot a 99, but would still be moving on to regionals.
“I’ve always had some bad luck at districts that cost me from advancing to regionals, but fortunately I was finally able to have success this year,” said Callie. “The second day I was feeling sore and exhausted. Like everyone else, I had to battle hard to get a score good enough to help slip our team into third place.”
Callie helped her squad earn a spot in the bi-district tournament at Bremerton, one step away from the 4A girls state championships.
“I am extremely proud of the team for playing their best through those two days,” said Callie. “Our endurance rewarded us with a road trip to regionals, which is such a dream come true for my senior year.”
A week later Mills and the Union girls would be back at it in Bremerton.
“She had a great first day at the regional tournament at Gold Mountain, shooting 88,” said Gary.
But those fortunes would change in a matter of 24 hours.
“On the 2nd day she struggled to find a rhythm in the cold and rain. It became clear she wasn’t going to make it to state in the middle of the back 9,” said Gary. “When she finished the 17th hole I realized I was about to watch her play the last hole of high school golf.
“We walked together as she played the 18th fairway and that was a neat way to close that chapter of our lives. It’s not always easy to coach your own kids at the high school level, but it’s been very rewarding for me.”
Callie missed qualifying for a spot in the girls 4A State golf championships by five strokes.
She had a season for the books as she qualified for regionals for her first time, she was named to the first team all conference pick for the 2nd year in a row with a 9-hole average of 47.
“She and her teammates worked hard and had great chemistry and that’s all you can ask for as a coach,” said Gary.
Callie will be enrolling at Brigham Young University this fall.