VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Virginia Beach golfer Amber Mackiewicz is carrying more than her golf clubs these days.
"Over the next few years, and for a long time – I’ll be looking back on this and thinking about how awesome it was," Mackiewicz said during an interview at The First Tee of Hampton Roads Tuesday.
Just a sophomore, Mackiewicz shows off her hardware after helping lead the Bayside High School golf squad, coached by Healey Eakes, to its best ever team finish at the state tournament: second place.
"It’s amazing," Eakes, in her ninth season as Bayside head coach, admitted. "This golf season has a been a blessing for all of us. The kids are excited, I’m excited. The whole reason for the season, I told them, just have fun."
Winning is fun. Just ask Amber.
The two medals she's holding are from two different state tournaments. Monday, she placed second individually at the Virginia High School League (VHSL) girls championship.
Last week, she won the individual title at the VHSL Class 5 boys championship. Yes, a 16 year-old girl beat every other boy in her division in Virginia.
"It’s honestly a really, really good feeling," Mackiewicz said smiling. "In the state championship, I was playing with three really good guys. I’d make that birdie putt again, and they’d say, ‘good birdie putt' or 'good hole'. I was a great experience."
At the VHSL level, golf is a co-ed sport. Amber was only able to compete at both the girls and boys state championships because Bayside qualified as a team after winning its first-ever regional title. A search of the VHSL record book reveals Mackiewicz is the first female to win a boys state title in seven years. It also appears less than 10 have done it in VHSL history.
"It’s hard for the girls," Coach Eakes said. "I’ll definitely say in my eight, nine years of coaching – it’s difficult to be out there as a girl and there are so few of them."
"A lot of girls are looked down on, because we may play from shorter [tees] or because we don’t have the strength or distance a lot of the guys do," Mackiewicz explained. "But when we put our minds to it and we’re confident with ourselves, we can do anything."
Amber Mackiewicz is toting more than her golf clubs and those state championship medals. She's carrying the flag for females with big goals in golf.