Times Sports Editor
Northview senior Hayley Miller is relatively new to the game of golf, but she's made the most of her short time in the sport and will continue to play at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods for the Pomeroys next season.
Miller took up the sport just three years ago when she joined the Northview program under coach Josh Trout. What she's accomplished in such a short time is what Trout finds especially amazing.
"I'm very proud of her. Especially because of the fact that she's only been playing golf for three years," Trout said. "For her to work that hard to get her game up to the capacity to play at the next level, that says a lot about her ability and her work ethic. I have to attribute a lot of that to her hard work and dedication."
Miller has come a long way from when she took up the sport as a sophomore on a Knights' team that won the Western Indiana Conference and advanced to the regional. Miller shot a 120 in the conference meet before carding a 105 in the team's third-place finish in the sectional. Miller then registered a 114 in the Martinsville Regional.
One year later, Miller's improvement helped the Knights repeat as WIC champions as she shot a 98 to finish fourth overall in the tourney. She was 14 strokes better at the sectional with a 91 and then she shot 10 strokes better at the regional with a 104.
As a senior this year, Miller continued to impress as she finished second overall to South Vermillion's Bailey Craft in the WIC Meet. She shot an 85 as Northview finished second. In the sectional, Miller placed second individually to Terre Haute North's Rachel Welker with an 83. Miller moved on to the Martinsville Regional individually where she shot a 97.
"I think she had a lot of excellent examples with some of the girls we've had (on the team) and the talent we've had," Trout said. "She's gained distance off the tee and she's gotten better at the little things that it takes to score in golf. She's such a hard worker and she just enjoys golf."
It means a lot because I set out my junior year as a goal to play in college," Miller said. "It feels great to be able to accomplish it. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication. I set my mind to it and practiced really hard to make any chance I could get."
The Pomeroys' program has plenty of local talent and should have a sectional look to it as Terre Haute South is represented by Kelsey Fuqua and Katelynn Gosnell and Terre Haute North graduate, Daniell Rosselli is on the team. Former West Vigo golfers Cecilia Gray and Brianna Marrs are also on the Pomeroys' team along with Owen Valley's Michaley Kinser and Faith Jones.
"It'll make it a lot easier to bond," Miller said of the team's local flavor. "I already know all the girls on the team so we already feel like a team and we already have that aspect of teamwork down. I really enjoyed my campus visit, the campus is so pretty. It was such a friendly environment. I'm going to study Medical Technology."
Former Terre Haute North coach Steve Higham is the coach at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
"Steve Higham does an excellent job," Trout said. "I've known him since he was the boy's coach at Terre Haute North and he has experience coaching the girls at Terre Haute North. He's been around the game for a long time. I know he'll be an excellent coach for (Hayley)."
Trout believes that making the transition to collegiate golf will be a smooth one for Miller.
"I think the biggest thing is playing from the yardages that they do in college. She'll have to get used to hitting long irons rather than short irons and gaining more distance off the tee, but she's got the strength and ability I think, to make the adjustments. She'll be just fine," Trout said.