When Owen Huntington was a child, he acquired an interest in two things: golf and a military career. The recent Camas High School graduate will pursue both at his new home — the United States Naval Academy.
Huntington has been accepted to the Annapolis, Maryland-based service academy, where he’ll join the Midshipmen’s men’s golf team this fall.
“He feels honored to play for the Naval Academy,” said Lee Huntington, Owen’s mother. “He’s super excited to be able to continue playing golf through college. He’s worked really hard to get to where he is as a golfer. I think he’s super grateful.”
Owen has “seagoing service in his blood,” according to Lee, a former member of the United States Coast Guard whose father and grandfather attended the Naval Academy.
“I think it will be a great fit for him,” Lee said. “He already has a lot of structure and self-discipline that he incorporates in his life naturally, so I think that he’ll be a really good fit in the military. He’s asked my dad his whole life about being in the Navy and what it was like to go to the Naval Academy. I think he prepared himself really well. I still think it will be challenging, but I’m really proud of him. And it’s a bonus that he gets to play golf.”
Owen talked with coaches from several “civilian” colleges, but eventually told them that he was “narrowly focused” on going to a military academy, according to Lee.
He also applied to California State University Maritime Academy (Vallejo, California), the United States Coast Guard Academy (New London, Connecticut) and the United States Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colorado). But his decision was made for him after he received a congressional nomination to the Naval Academy by 3rd District Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground).
“(Going to the Naval Academy) was both his choice and also his only option,” Lee said.
After Owen was invited to Annapolis to attend the academy’s “Summer Seminar” program in 2020, he reached out to Midshipmen golf coach Pat Owen to set up a time to meet, play golf and inquire about the possibility of joining the team.
The seminar was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Owen remained in touch with Pat Owen, who eventually asked the Camas High student to join the squad this fall.
“The coach couldn’t really do anything. He could facilitate a little more (conversation), but he didn’t really have a say as to whether Owen would be accepted (to the academy),” Lee said. “Owen did all that on his own merit, and then the golf coach gave him a little more information about what to expect and promised him he would be on the golf team. That was really helpful for Owen and gave him something to look forward to.”
Owen played several sports when he was a young boy but decided to devote himself to golf full-time when he was 11.
“When you’re having a bad day in golf, it’s all right there on the scorecard,” he told the Columbian in 2018. “That’s one thing my friends who play team sports don’t get. There isn’t someone else who is going to pick you up. There’s no bench where you can sit and regroup. It’s all on you, and you just have to keep battling. Actually, that’s one part about golf that I really like.”
Owen joined the Oregon Junior Golf Association, which allowed him to participate in summer tournaments against some of the best young players in the Pacific Northwest, when he was 12.
During the next several years he recorded two top-10 finishes at the Washington State Interscholastic Activities Association 4A state meet — fifth in 2018 as a freshman and 10th in 2019 as a sophomore.
He qualified for the 2020 4A state tourney, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But he returned to the links for the Papermakers’ delayed 2020-21 season, during which he averaged 36.4 strokes per nine holes.
“He is a hard-working, dedicated young man,” Camas High boys golf coach Ed Givens said.