Coriana McMillian looks to add some more recognition to one of the most notable families in recent North Kitsap High School history.
“It feels good to live up to my name because my siblings played a lot of sports and had a lot of impact,” she said.
Although only a freshman, she played three varsity sports this year. McMillian played outside hitter in volleyball, point guard for basketball and infield for softball.
McMillian’s siblings were all superb athletes for the Vikings in the past few years. Kobe McMillian and their stepbrother Shaa Humphrey played basketball at North Kitsap and were part of the 2020 basketball team that won the 2A state title. Her sister, Kamora, played basketball and soccer at the school before graduating a couple of years ago.
As the youngest, Corina said her siblings give her some tough love. “Shaa was like, ‘Well you don’t do this,” McMillan said. “I’ll say, ‘Were you starting as a freshman? No, you weren’t.’ I just shake them off all the time.”
In addition, McMillian’s sister helped mentor her in basketball when they were younger. “She pretended to be my coach and beat me all the time,” McMillian said. “It was so traumatic but it helped me get good at sports now.”
Since McMillian is the youngest, she has the burden of living up to the hype surrounding her. “Do I go to college for one of these sports or what do I do?” McMillian said. “I want to go above the expectations and pass my siblings since I am the youngest.”
McMillian has already made an impact on her teams as a freshman, something none of her siblings were able to do. “I haven’t sat down and comprehended that I am playing all these sports,” McMillian said. “During the one-week break, I look back and think about how I started on varsity, that’s crazy.”
McMillan’s first journey to varsity came in volleyball. She began playing volleyball in eighth grade and made the C-Team at North Kitsap to begin the season. However, before the season began, coach Kaelea Makaiwi had her eyes on McMillian. She knew McMillian was one of the best athletes in the gym every day who was learning how to utilize her abilities.
Once the playoffs began, McMillian got the call-up to varsity and impressed the coach. “Coriana is a positive, coachable, hard-working, goal-oriented, team player,” Makaiwi said. “She leads by example on and off the court and is always striving to help her team achieve their goals.”
After finishing eighth at state, McMillian jumped to basketball. She began on JV, but multiple injuries gave her the opportunity to become the starting point guard for the varsity squad. “It was a sigh of relief because I liked playing JV but varsity is a big achievement for me,” McMillan said. “I love the girls on the team.”
McMillian helped a young Vikings basketball team to a district berth. “It’s really stressful in those big games because you don’t want to let the seniors down,” she said. “I just try to have fun with it and not to overwhelm myself. I just need to cherish every moment.”
After playing a role for two playoff teams, McMillian became a swing player between the JV and varsity softball squads. She appeared in the state championship game as a pinch runner when the game was tied 1-1. She got caught into a pickle between third and home but scored when the ball went over the third baseman’s head to take a 2-1 lead.
Coach Clay Blackwood said earlier this season, “Coriana has a ton of athletic abilities, and we hope to get her opportunities throughout the season to suit up more with the varsity team.”
McMillian said she has had some tough times adapting as the youngest player on each team. “Some of the hardest things is that I am a freshman and can’t get my voice heard,” McMillian said. “Some of them are adults, and I am still a child. It’s intimidating at first, but then I get to know them, and they have treated me with a bunch of respect.”
Several coaches and upperclassmen have taken her under their wing, taught her the fundamentals and become her newest friends.
McMillian’s freshman campaign is nearing an end. Although she has three years and her freshman spring season left, she has set some goals to make herself stand out from her siblings.
“I hope to be a three-sport athlete for all four years because that has been a goal for mine and is a big achievement,” McMillian said, adding her biggest goal before she graduates is “to get a state title so I can put it in my brother’s face and show him I got a ring too.”