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News / Sports / Prep Sports

All-Region boys golf: Eli Huntington, Camas

Senior goes out with another top-5 finish at state and heads to Air Force Academy

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: June 7, 2023, 9:01pm

For the past four years at Camas High School, Eli Huntington has been driving for eagles and birdies.

This fall, he’ll begin his pursuit to start flying with them.

Last month in Spokane, Huntington tied for third at the 4A boys golf state tournament, earning a second straight top-5 finish.

And for a second year in a row, he was selected as The Columbian’s All-Region boys golfer of the year.

“Overall, I think (state) went really well,” he said. “It was a great experience. I am not going to be unhappy with a top-5 finish. It would have been great to end with a win, but third place isn’t bad. I played solid golf. I definitely could have played better. I definitely had more in me, but I’m not upset with how it went.”

Later this summer, Huntington will head to Colorado to play golf and continue his education at the Air Force Academy, following in the family path of a service academy education.

His mother attended the Coast Guard Academy, and his older brother Owen is currently at the U.S. Naval Academy where he also plays golf.

Eli Huntington’s path to the Air Force Academy took shape shortly after making a visit there last year.

“When I started considering the military academies, I decided I wanted to be an officer in the military,” he said. “And the whole environment at the Air Force Academy, the structure, the discipline, all of that through the four years are skills that will benefit me my whole life.”

Huntington talked to his brother and others about the military academy experience.

“They’ve all pretty much said the same thing — that first year is such a challenge,” Huntington said. “But honestly, that’s a big reason why I wanted to do it. I wanted to experience that challenge. …

“There’s the physical aspect, all the training you go through that first summer. And then also the mental training, the memorization, just everything you have to learn that first summer when you’re converting from civilian life to the military.”

And the possibility of one day taking flight also appealed to him.

“About half of the graduates from the Air Force Academy become pilots, so it’s very likely a career path for me,” he said.

It will be a very short summer vacation for Huntington as he leaves for Colorado Springs on June 28.

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And he’ll keep busy in the interim. He is going to squeeze in playing in the Royal Oaks Invitational Tournament this weekend around Camas High School’s graduation. Then he also plans to play in the Oregon Amateur at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in two weeks.

His high school years certainly didn’t go as expected, as the pandemic erased any hopes of playing in the state tournament his freshman and sophomore years. But the experience did help shape him into the golfer and the person he is today.

“It was a really great experience,” he said of his time at Camas. “Obviously, it would have great to have a postseason those first two years when I was playing with my brother, especially because we had a really great team those years.

“Then my junior year, it was a bit different not having my brother on the team. I had to switch into more of the leader role that my brother had. But that was a great opportunity to build my character as a leader.”

Rest of the All-Region team

Evan Chen, Camas: Senior was a first-team 4A GSHL selection, placed second at district and third at the bi-district tournament.

Dane Huddleston, Woodland: The Utah Valley-bound senior was the 2A GSHL MVP capped a stellar career by placing 8th at the 2A state tournament.

Jack Kendrick, Columbia River: Junior was the 2A GSHL league champion and helped River to a runner-up finish by placing 12th at state.

Grady Millar, Mountain View: Sophomore was the 3A GSHL player of the year, district champion, bi-district runner-up and 11th at state.

Spencer Moody, Mountain View: Sophomore helped Mountain View to a runner-up team finish at state by placing tied for seventh at the 3A state tournament.

Jacob Parker, Seton Catholic: Sophomore was the Trico League MVP, repeated as district champion and finished fifth at the 1A state tournament.