Miller makes states in two seasons
Cole Miller has been Northwestern High School's best golfer since he joined the team as a freshman.
But over the past two school years, Miller proved he is more than just a great golfer. His success on the Tiger track and field team prove that Miller is one of the school's top all-around athletes. He is also this year's Northwestern Press Male Athlete of the Year.
Months after capping another great golf season and signing his letter of intent to play at Penn State, Miller signed up for the Northwestern track and field team for his second season in a row.
He excelled as a sprinter and pole vaulter. He was part of a District 11 champion 4x400 relay team while earning an individual silver medal with a second-place finish in pole vault.
Miller followed that with a 10th-place finish in pole vault at states.
While it was his first trip to a state track meet, Miller was no stranger to the PIAA Championship environment. He's qualified for the state golf tournament each of the past three fall seasons.
Miller owns two state medals in golf, a sport he's been playing since he was five years old.
He had made two holes in one by the time he was a high school freshman. He took the top spot on Northwestern's team and held it for four years.
With one of the top No. 2 players in the area by his side in Nick Vecellio, the players from the Class of 2014 took Northwestern's golf program to new heights, including qualifying for two straight Colonial League team tournaments and last season's District 11 team tournament.
As a junior, Miller won leagues again, took second at districts and went on to second place in the PIAA Class AA Championship.
Last fall, in his final high school campaign, Miller had his best season. He won leagues, districts and regionals before taking second again at states.
"I feel really great about my senior season," he said. "I accomplished a ton of goals. The only one I let slide was to win states. But I put on a good showing out at states and that's all I could really ask for.
"I got to spend my last season with a lot of my friends on the golf team. To play with them, have fun and be competitive was the perfect way to end my high school golf career."
Miller works hard to improve his golf game. He spends much more time on the range than on the course. And he's been improving consistently for four years.
He's set course records. He's won club championships. He's won in junior golf. He's learned to hit nearly all of the shots required for players that want to move on to the next level.
One key to his success is staying grounded. He takes one shot at a time, one round at a time, one event at a time.
"Sometimes when I look back I'm a little shocked," he said. "It feels like when you leave the golf course you always think about the couple things you could have improved on instead of what you just accomplished."
Miller posted an under-par scoring average each of the last two season, 67 last fall and 66.5 as a sophomore.
"But we this year we had one less match," Miller said.
That's the quiet confidence evident in so many great golfers. Miller knows that just one more match, just one more chance to fire a 65 or lower, and his average would be just the same.
His confidence is well-founded. He's been successful at the game all the way back to his first year of junior golf.
At nine-years old he started playing Golf Association of the Lehigh Valley tournaments.
"My third tournament I went on a run where I won like five in a row or six in a row," he said. "I had a lot of fun playing those nine-hole matches."
Unlike a lot of great young golfers, Miller hasn't been over-coached into a mechanical swing. He gets guidance from his father and from Northwestern's second-year head coach Tim Miller (no relation).
"My dad and Tim like to look at my swing but we never really actually change anything," Cole said. "What they do change is my approach to the game and the way I see different shots."
Miller has been stepping up his tournament schedule every year and this year he's making a big leap. He will attempt to qualify for the highest level of amateur tournaments, USGA events like the Public Links Championship and the National Amatuer Tournament.
It all started that day in his yard, but there's been a lot of work that's gone into Miller's career. His parents, Carl and Jenny, didn't mind a couple dents in the car, or the hundreds, if not thousands, of miles driving to tournaments.
"I owe my entire golf career to them," said Cole. "They basically allowed me to play golf from a young age and just supported me with it and my dad was always there to help me with anything I wanted to do with my swing or any tournaments I wanted to play."
Miller's next stop is college golf. After that, he plans to make every effort to continue his career at the highest level.
"That would be my dream," he said. "I have a chance to live my dream if I just keep working at it."