Run of the Mills
Twins Brandon and Camille Mills provide a multi sport boost to Mira Costa High
Eighteen years ago, Wendy Mills gave birth to son Brandon at Torrance Memorial Hospital. One minute later, twin sister Camille entered the world. This spring, the twins will celebrate four years of parallel athletic and academic success at Mira Costa High.
Brandon. in his senior year, was a two-way starter on the Mustang’s Bay League runner-up football team. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder used his speed and power as a running back, but it was his defense that earned him Co-Bay League Defensive Player of the Year honors, along with West Torrance’s Ray Lima.
Camille, in her senior year was named to the All-CIF team after leading the Mustangs to a 23-12 record while averaging 10.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 steals per game.
Athletic genes run deep in the Mills family. Older sister Megan ran track for Mira Costa. Their dad Tracy played football at Verbum Dei high and Wendy was a member of the drill team at Birmingham High School.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the twins,” Wendy said. “Both have stayed grounded even with their success, both athletically and academically.”
“They may be stars, but you’d never know it off the field or court,” Wendy said. “I’ve stressed the importance of not letting their athletic success overshadow their personalities. This has been a tremendous senior year for them. I told them to enjoy it because the next level at college and in the real world will not be simple.”
Mills helped Mira Costa attain an 8-4 record and an appearance in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Northern Division, playing a vital role on a defense that allowed only 17.9 points per game.
“Late in the season, Brandon was as good a linebacker as we’ve had around here, possibly on a PAC-12 level,” head football coach Don Morrow said. “The sky’s the limit for him and nothing he does surprises me. He’s an outstanding kid who leads by example and he’s so respected on campus.”
Mills said the highlight of his prep career came against rival Redondo Union.
“It was the last regular season game and we had a chip on our shoulders,” Mills said. “To get a 35-0 shutout was a great feeling and a game I’ll always remember.”
Despite his success on the varsity level, Mills said his most memorable moment in high school came when he was a sophomore on the junior varsity football team.
“We had a lot of players quit and we spent most of the time on the field just conditioning,” Mills said. “Our first game was against Loyola and we only had 15-20 guys on our team going up against a full squad. We beat them 7-3 and I realized at that time who my true friends and teammates were.”
Mills barely had time to recover from the bumps and bruises of the football season this year when he joined many of his teammates on Mira Costa’s newly-formed rugby team.
Mills and his fellow football players helped the Mustangs win the Southern California Youth Rugby Blue Division Championship with a 41-14 win over Dana Hills. Under the tutelage of head coach Duke Dulgarian, Mira Costa finished with an improbable 11-0 record in its inaugural season.
“Brandon was one of the most intelligent and athletic kids on our team,” Dulgarian said.
Wendy and Tracy exposed their children to all types of sports, letting each decide which they wanted to pursue.
“I was a legitimate soccer player but the season coincided with football,” Brandon said. “Now I’m focusing on track.”
He hopes to break the school record of 10.97 seconds in the 100-meter dash set by former football teammate Raphael Lawson-Gayle.
“I’m also hoping we can set a school record in the 4×100 relay,” Mills said. “I’d also like to reach 50 feet in the shot put and 150 feet in the discus.”
Brandon epitomizes the student athlete. In February, he was named runner-up for the Los Angeles Scholar Athlete of the Year Award. His favorite subject is math.
He is completing an internship at Northrop Grumman and will major in mechanical engineering while participating in football and possibly track at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Unfortunately, the football coach won’t let me play rugby,” Mills said.
Like most twins, Brandon and Camille have a close relationship.
“We can just look at each other and know what the other is thinking. Whether it’s at home or at a game, we’re always there to support each other,” Brandon said.
Camille has been attending her brother’s football games since he began playing the sport at the age of five. Brandon, in turn, has been one of Camille’s biggest fans, watching her lead Mira Costa to the CIF Southern Section Division 2AA girls basketball championship game and a second-round appearance in the State Regional playoffs.
Mira Costa head coach John Lapham described Camille as one of the best athletes he has coached.
“Camille’s willingness to hustle on every play is a big reason she is such a valuable player,” Lapham said. “Whether diving on loose balls, fighting bigger players for rebounds, or saving a ball from going out of bounds, she goes 100 percent all the time. When our best player works this hard, and hustles this much, it has a really positive effect on our whole team. It becomes contagious.”
Lapham attributes the hours spent after team practices refining her skills in 3-point shooting and pull-up jumpers to making Camille a much improved shooter during this year.
“Her speed and bounce are well beyond what we normally see, and give her the ability to play a variety of roles, both on offense and defense,” Lapham said. “She can guard wings and perimeter players equally well, and can rebound enough to also play the bottom part of a zone. On offense, she can play the 1, 2 or 3, and use her athleticism to create shots all over the floor for herself and her teammates.”
Camille, who was a cheerleader when she was younger, said the basketball season has created memories she will always treasure.
“Each year amazing things happen but going to CIF and State this year was the best,” Camille said. “Beating Cajon 84-60 on the road in overtime was probably the most memorable game I’ve played in.”
Camille said her personal most memorable moment came the next week in front of her home crowd.
“We’re beating Redondo with the winner going on to the CIF championship game,” Camille recalled. “With the clock running down, Keilani Ikehara and I just passed the ball back and forth with big smiles on our faces.”
Camille said she will begin focusing on track after competing in her final all-star basketball game next week.
“I’m hoping to compete in 100, 200, 4×100 and maybe 4×400 relays,” Camille said. “I’d like to try to beat our girls 100m record. I came close last year before I suffered an injury, so I’m on the road to redemption.”
She said she hopes to play basketball on the collegiate level and maybe professionally.
“I’m looking at colleges and hopefully will get an opportunity to play basketball,” Camille said. “I want to go into pre-law or sports management.”