Name: Hailey Miller
Fall Sport: Golf
Position: No. 1 Seed
Years on Varsity: Two Years
Height & Weight: 5’3”/130 lbs.
Playing Experience: 5 years (began playing in sixth grade at Rockingham Middle School)
Favorite Subjects: As a sophomore at Richmond Senior High School, Miller is enrolled in the advanced placement cluster. She really enjoys science as her favorite subject, more specifically earth science. She’s in honors biology now, and says it is teaching her a lot. Miler is also taking AP Government, and says the class discussions are her favorite part of Mrs. Suzanne Hudson’s class.
RSHS Sports: When she’s not swinging a golf club, Miller can be found on the basketball court. As a freshman last year, Miller was a member of the junior varsity basketball team, and intends to try out again later this fall.
While in middle school, Miller was a member of Rockingham Middle School’s basketball team. As a seventh and eighth grader, she won the Southeastern Middle School conference championship with her fellow Lady Rockets. Miller also played softball, but has since focused her attention on her golf game.
RSHS Extracurricular Activities: Despite being a two-sport athlete, Miller still finds time to immerse herself in several clubs around RSHS. This year, she is a member of the National Beta Club, in which she is currently working on completing her service hours. She is also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an after-school organization that meets last two Wednesdays of the month. Youth pastor CJ Smith, of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Rockingham, hosts the event.
Miller also attends Mt. Olive Baptist Church’s youth group, and went on a mission trip to Jacksonville, Fla., this past summer. Miller’s group went to a low-income apartment complex and worked with local adults and children, hosting bible studies and games to play. They also held a food drive for the homeless in the area.
Hobbies: Of course Miller’s top hobby is to play golf; and to play as often as she can to get better at her favorite sport. Each day, she makes time to practice under the direction of her father, and coach, Dwayne Miller. Ahead of matches, Miller travels to the course the weekend beforehand to prepare.
Another hobby that the 16-year-old Miller enjoys is going to the gym at FirstHealth to workout. Like most teenagers, she also enjoys hanging out with friends, especially at home Raiders football games in the student section. and enjoy Friday night football games. Afterward, she attends Mount Olive’s “fifth quarter” youth gathering from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
High School/College Aspirations: With three years still to go before graduating in 2020, Miller has a lot of hopes to succeed academically at RSHS. As she is a straight-A student, she wants to continue to do well within the AP cluster. Miller also hopes to obtain recognition as a junior marshal next year, as well as earn high enough marks to join the National Honors Society as an upperclassman.
In regard to postsecondary education, Miller is already thinking about what she wants to do. Her ideal situation would be to attend Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., and play golf on a scholarship. Academically, she is considering going pre-med to become an orthopedic surgeon, thanks to lots of broken bones suffered throughout her life. Miller is also considering pharmacy school.
Interesting Fact: As noted earlier, Miller’s dad, Dwayne, is her golf coach, and is responsible for introducing her to the game in sixth grade. Miller admitted she’d never really thought about playing the sport, but is glad to her dad has helped coached her the last five years.
In what she called a “unique dynamic,” Miller said having her dad as her coach has its ups and downs. But mostly ups, she reiterated. She notes that it’s cool he’s there to help her every day get better, and that they practice on a hole at the old Richmond Pines Country Club, which isn’t far from where she lives. Her dad, Miller said, serves as her biggest supporter and has made her golf game better.
Mentor: Miller had to dig back to her middle school basketball days to reveal her mentor. She chose, without hesitation, her former Rockingham Middle School basketball coach Teresa Mason.
Mason, who has been a long time physical education teacher and coach, has impacted countless players over her tenure at RMS, and Miller was one of them.
“Coach Mason always made me work my hardest,” Miller said. “She required that I give my best effort all the time. And she always reminded me to never take the easy way out. And the cool thing is that Coach Mason still checks in with me during basketball season. It’s pretty cool.”
Player of the Week Stats: The Lady Raiders’ golf season is nearing its end, but Miller is starting to heat up. As the team’s No. 1 seeded golfer as a freshman and sophomore, Miller shot an 88 in her match Monday at Scotch Meadows in Laurinburg, N.C.
In her previous match, Miller shot a 92, and says that she’s continuously getting better week in and week out.
What’s it like to be the No. 1 golfer on the team? What responsibilities fall into your lap?
“Being Richmond’s No. 1 seed means that I have to play well every match,” Miller said. “I like being able to play with the best competition in the conference, especially against the golfers from Pinecrest.
“As golf is an individual sport, I also have to be a leader,” Miller added. “I enjoy being able to help my teammates with their game and give advice when they need it.”
Explain your style of play. What’s have you worked on this season, and where do you want to be by season’s end?
“I would describe myself as an aggressive golfer,” Miller said grinning. “When I’m in the tee box, I want to drive the ball as far as I can. When I’m on my approach shot, I want to stick it in the middle of the green. Chipping and putting are the best aspects of my game.
“My goal for this season is to qualify for states,” Miller continued. “I made the regional playoffs as a freshman, and I want to do better this year. In order to do that, I need to work on my mid-range game. My iron shots could use some improvement.”
Head coach Jeff Ingram realizes that Miller is an exceptional golfer and asset to the team. He’s noted her progression over the last two seasons, and knows she’ll continue to get better as she attempts to qualify for the state playoffs.
“I chose Hailey as this week’s Richmond County Official Athlete of the Week because she had the lowest score (88) this week,” Ingram said. “She also has the lowest scoring average on the team.
“Hailey is an asset to our team because she’s not just a golfer, but she’s an athlete,” Ingram continued. “She always strives to get better and to learn new things. She’s incredibly dedicated to the team and it shows each match.”
Look for Miller on the Richmond Observer’s flagship news program Live at 5, as he’ll be in studio for Wednesday’s edition.