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Competitive spirit

by R. HANS MILLER
Managing Editor | March 28, 2024 1:50 AM

EPHRATA — Ephrata’s Addison Mills has signed with Corban University, a Salem, Ore.-based Christian institution, on a full-ride volleyball scholarship. Mills, a pin hitter on the court, said she had to consider her options after getting offers to play multiple sports – in part due to her height and competitive nature.

“I’ve gotten offers from colleges for basketball, definitely,” she said. “They’ve reached out to me, but I just don’t really like basketball, so I shut those down and said, ‘No. Thank you.’” 

Mills wasn’t as cocky as that may sound though. She said she’s worked hard to develop the opportunities she wants. Offers included one from Lewis & Clark College, which requires a 3.2 GPA or better before coaches will consider an athlete for a scholarship. She’s studied hard to maintain that, been active in multiple extracurriculars and has made certain she focuses on her school work. All important as she considers options in studying business and communications as she moves forward. She uses a period a day to ensure she stays ahead of assignments and is grateful for the support she receives from her precalculus teacher Cassie Roloff, Librarian Sheila Massey and weight training teacher Rick Walter. 

“I’ve had (Roloff) for three years. I had her my freshman year, my junior year, and then this year, my senior year. (She’s the nicest) teacher,” Addison said. 

Massey is her ASB Advisor and Walter helps her stay focused on her athleticism to support her competitive drive, Addison said. The competition associated with volleyball — she’s a pin hitter in the front corners near the net most of the time — is a big draw for her. 

“I’m a really competitive person, so probably the competitive aspect of (volleyball is the draw),” Addison said. “And, I played sports my whole life. Like, I play basketball and I grew up playing soccer and volleyball. So, the competitive side really, and the fact that I’m tall. It really helps you in volleyball.” 

Addison’s mom, Stephanie Mills, said the competitive spirit has always been a part of her youngest child — Addison has an older brother and sister. The older siblings play sports, but neither plays collegiate sports and are more focused on club play. Addison likes showing up to reach for the win on the court though. 

“She’s the youngest of three, you know? And I think she always just felt like she has to live up to something,” Stephanie said. “She’s always just worked extra hard, and I’m just so proud of her for that.” 

Addison’s mom said she’s proud not just for the athletic achievements, but for the hard work in the classroom and in other extracurricular activities. The young volleyball fan is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America club at school, and is involved in TigerVision and other activities that keep her busy, engaged and active. 

Stephanie said Addison is also an advocate for people to be treated fairly and with respect, especially women. When the volleyball team ranked seventh in the state this year, Addison and friends pestered the athletic department staff until the team was listed as such on the board in the gym, right next to all of the boys’ teams’ placings. 

“I am just so proud of her for advocating not only for women, but women in athletics,” Stephanie said. “I think she’s going to be such a strong force for that.” 

Addison said she appreciates all of the adults who have supported her on her way to college courts, but she credits amazing friends — too many to list — with keeping her motivated to keep showing up to practice, whether for basketball, tennis or volleyball.

“Them showing up. Them wanting to show up every day makes me want to show up every day,” she said. 

R. Hans “Rob” Miller may be reached at editor@columbiabasinherald.com. A resident of Ephrata, he will be hosting a town hall Thursday evening at the Ephrata High School PAC at 6 p.m. and invites Ephrata readers to come hear from the school district, city, hospital, port and other local officials. #notsosubtlehint

    Addison Mills on the court for the Ephrata Tigers. The senior plays as a pin hitter and said her height gives her an advantage on the court close to the net.
 
 
    Addison Mills beams in her Corban University shirt. The full scholarship she received to play volleyball for the university will allow her to start studying business and communications.
 
 
    Addison Mills talks to an official on the court. Mills said the adults in her life have been huge supporters as she worked to create the opportunities she wants for herself.
 
 
    Addison Mills on the court for the Ephrata Tigers with her fellow players. Mills said having her teammates committed to showing up every day helps her do the same.