PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles sophomore Millie Long is a busy girl.
Long is playing in summer tournaments for the Roughriders girls basketball team. She is later going to a summer soccer camp. And she is also carving out some time to practice for the state decathlon championships that will be held in Shoreline this weekend.
Track and field is actually Long’s third sport, though when asked which her favorite sport is, she was a little undecided, saying, “basketball … soccer … track is up there, too.
“I’m kind of all over the place maybe,” Long said.
She is an all-league performer in both soccer and basketball, winning Olympic League MVP in basketball and All-Peninsula MVP in soccer.
“Sometimes I forget that I do track. Some days I have three practices.”
And yet, she’s also a state champion and PAHS record-holder in track and field, just a testament to what an outstanding all-around athlete she is.
“I didn’t know this was going to happen,” Long said about her success in track.
Long won the girls’ 300-meter hurdles at the Class 2A State Track and Field Championships, setting a new school record with her time of 44.65 seconds. Amazingly, Long trimmed 5½ seconds off her initial 300 hurdles time in the first track meet of the year on March 16 (which was still good enough to win). She joins her older sister, Gracie, as a state track and field champion. Gracie Long won the 1,600-meter state championship as a senior in 2018.
Long won a staggering total of 23 track and field events this season in the 200 meters, 100-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles, the high jump, the long jump, the 4×100 relay and the 4×400 relay. She finished in the top 3 in 36 events.
Fourteen of her 23 firsts were in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. Every 300-meter race she entered, she won. She won the Olympic League championship and the West Central District 3 championship in this event.
Long added a seventh-place finish at state in the 100-meter hurdles and a 10th place at state in the long jump. She tallied 12 points for the Roughriders girls, helping the team finish second at the state meet as a team.
Because of her state championship, her school record and her 23 first-place finishes, we have selected Long as our All-Peninsula girls track and field MVP.
And yet, we pick her with the slightest caveat. That it was a very difficult decision, because her teammate Lauren Larson had an amazing season of her own, and arguably could have been our All-Peninsula pick. Long gets picked on the slimmest of margins because of her state championship, but more on Larson’s accomplishments later.
Long wasn’t even aware of the 23 first-place finishes and the fact that she hadn’t lost a 300-meter race all year.
Long started out in track trying a variety of things. Her freshmen year, she competed in 10 different events, including the pole vault, 100 meters and triple jump. She narrowed that down slightly to seven events this year, but started focusing more on the hurdles as that discipline emerged as her best event.
Long said the hurdles was actually kind of hard for her at first. “I remember being super frustrated with it. It really takes a certain number of steps” between the hurdles, she said.
Hurdles are also a high-stress event, where one clipped hurdle can ruin a meet and a season. Long said she has had to just keep that out of her mind.
“You can’t think about it, if you do, you’re more likely to trip,” she said.
As far as branching out into other disciplines, Long is open to trying new events.
”I do want to try a steeplechase. The long distances help keep me in shape.”
Despite coming up just short for a state championship — and Larson did come very close — she had an amazing season and the sky is the limit for this Port Angeles sophomore.
Long tallied 12 total points at the state track meet. Larson actually tallied 22. She finished second in the 800 meters, third in the 1,600 meters and second in the 3,200 meters. Her time in the 800 was 0.39 of a second off of first. Three of the girls who finished ahead of her are seniors and will not be back next season.
And the week after running at the state track and field championships, Larson ran the 10K at the North Olympic Discovery Marathon.
Long won 23 total events this season, Larson won 21 and finished in the top 3 in 29 races this year.
Larson’s time at state in the 3,200 of 10 minutes, 54.11 seconds broke a PAHS record set last year by Gracie Long, Millie’s older sister.
From the beginning of the season to the state championships, Larson shaved 15 seconds off her 800-meter time, 25 seconds over her 1,600-meter time and 42 seconds off her 3,200-meter time.
So, with these two sophomores, including some other young sophomores and freshmen, returning for Port Angeles High School track next year, the Riders will again be a force to be reckoned with.