PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles standout Millie Long’s recruitment unofficially started way back in the fourth grade.
“I’ve known [Peninsula College women’s basketball coach Alison] Crumb since fourth grade, and growing up, she would joke around and say, ‘You will play for me when you get to college, right?’” Long said. “And I’ve known [Peninsula women’s soccer coach] Kanyon [Anderson] since freshman year from going to camps at PC. They both knew that I played soccer and basketball and told me that I had the option of playing both sports.”
And that’s the option Long, arguably the most talented all-around athlete Port Angeles has produced in years, has selected.
Joined by her family, high school and college coaches and her future soccer and basketball teammates, Long signed a letter of intent to play both sports for the Pirates.
Long will be accompanied by familiar faces on the soccer field and basketball courts with Peninsula as Port Angeles teammates Madison Cooke and Myra Walker previously signed with the Pirate basketball team as well as Neah Bay’s Ruth Moss, all of whom played youth basketball together on the Olympic Avalanche select team.
“I think it’s great. I’ve been playing with the same girls since fourth grade, and soccer will be the same thing with Kyrsten [McGuffey],” Long said.
McGuffey and Long were a potent scoring duo for the state-bound Port Angeles soccer team in 2017-2018.
“These programs are really special, really good. Joining these teams will push me. It’s a completely different level of competition, and everybody else will be good.”
Long said COVID and its impacts on college programs did affect her college search.
“A lot of the coaches I talked to at every level, NAIA, [NCAA] Division II, D1, all told me I would have to redshirt the first year because the seniors got an extra year of eligibility. A lot of coaches are forgetting about the 2021 class, in a way.”
But not Crumb or Anderson.
“It has been a pleasure to watch Millie play for the last four years for Scott Moseley in soccer and Mike Poindexter in basketball,” Anderson wrote in an email.
“Both are excellent coaches and good friends of mine. They both shared with me several times what a great competitive spirit Millie has, and I am so excited to get to see that first hand at PC. Millie will have an immediate impact with our team in the Fall. Her pace and attacking instinct are qualities that can’t be coached.
“In addition to her gifts as an athlete, she is a wonderful person who puts the team first. The sky really is the limit for her, and I can’t wait to see her grow as an athlete and as (a) human being here at PC.”
Crumb is just as enthused about Long’s decision.
“I think Millie has the opportunity to be one of the best dual-sport athletes that has ever come out of Port Angeles, and I know Kanyon and I are both extremely excited to see what she can do at the collegiate level,” Crumb said.
“Obviously, she comes very decorated in all sports, but for her to stay home and have us be able to appreciate her athleticism, competitiveness and character for two more years is really exciting… Her motor is off the charts, her skill set is unmatched and her competitive drive is very unique.”
Long said a combination of finances, relationships and the ability to figure out a career path all factored into her decision to stay home.
“I think it’s the best option for me,” Long said.
“I just want to be able to fit in with the teams, and personally I don’t overthink it. I just play my best to help the team succeed. To be coachable and for us to do the best that we can is what’s important. That means having a good attitude, being a good teammate, working out and making sure I can be the best player I can be.
“[And to compete for championships], definitely that’s the biggest team goal. To get a championship, get a W and get the banner up.”
Crumb identified one of her biggest pitches while recruiting Long.
“One of our biggest selling points to her was to create a legacy, and I think she can do that in this community that knows, respects and cares about her success,” Crumb said.
“The great thing about Millie though is that she doesn’t really even think of that; she just wants to play and compete.
“She actually doesn’t even want all the attention, but I think it is important that we recognize the type of player and person that she is, which is unique.”
Long thanked all those who have supported her in reaching this moment.
“All my coaches who have ever coached me in soccer, basketball, track, even tennis,” Long said.
“My parents [Kenton and Alyssa] have really supported me financially and putting time into sports. My club basketball and soccer coaches, there’s a lot of people. The community, too. Everybody is so supportive of the teams and I appreciate it.
“And my grandparents [Russell and Bonnie Long and William and Marilyn Booth], obviously, they have been super supportive and go to every game they can. If they are not going to games, they are watching the other kids.”
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected] news.com.