ROCKLAND — Austin Chilles is one of those student-athletes who can do it all. If tasked with something, he will accomplish it. At a consistently high level.

He was a solid member of the Oceanside High School basketball team (most improved player), standout pitcher and catcher for the baseball squad (most valuable player) and No. 1 Mariner golfer (also MVP).

He was a three-sport captain and that leadership, as well as overall athletic talent, has led Chilles to take his golf game to the next level — namely, Drew University of Madison, N.J.

Oceanside’s Austin Chilles hits an approach shot on the Rockland Golf Course during his high school senior season. Photo by Zack Miller

The Rangers, a Division III school, will include 12 golfers, including seven freshmen — of which Chilles will be one — under coaches John Manos, Quintin Davis and Erik Diamond.

Drew University plays a fall schedule that includes trips to Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Georgia, among other places.

Chilles, a 2022 Oceanside graduate, is believed to be the first Mariner to receive scholarship assistance to attend college and play golf, while other OHS graduates (Nick Mazurek at Husson University in Bangor, for example), have played golf at the collegiate level and other Mariner golfers have gone on to college, but not to play the sport at that level.

Chilles is one of 15 student-athletes from the Class of 2022 to earn awards from the Maine Golf Scholarship Fund. Since its inception in 1950, the fund has helped nearly 580 students who hail from the 16 Pine Tree State counties to pursue higher education. Maine Golf approaches $1.8 million given as scholarships to Maine students with a passion for golf since its modest start.

“Awarding scholarships has been one of the core missions of Maine Golf for over 70 years,” says Brian Bickford, executive director of Maine Golf. “There were so many great applicants, and we wish them all continued success as they take their next step in life’s journey.”

Students were selected based on their “character, financial need, academic performance, and participation in the game of golf and/or golf industry.” For 2022, the Maine Golf Scholarship Fund Committee selected 15 students to receive awards of $1,500 per year, renewable for up to four years of undergraduate education.

Two additional students received a one-time grant of $5,000 from the Frank Langlois Scholarship Fund.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I want to congratulate the 2022 Maine Golf scholarship recipients and the many talented student-athletes who applied in record numbers this year,” said Neil Angis, chair of the scholarship fund committee.

“We’re very proud to support these exceptional young people as they go off to do great things in college and beyond. I also want to sincerely thank our players, member clubs, volunteers, and generous donors for their continued support in making these vital scholarships possible.”

Oceanside’s Austin Chilles on the course. Photo by Ken Waltz

The 6-foot Chilles, 18, of Rockland made his mark for the Mariners in three sports, but especially golf and baseball. He essentially will tee up his golf talents in the land of the trees — natural obstacles he tries to avoid when on the course.

Chilles said Drew University has been nicknamed the “University in the Forest” because of its wooded 186-acre campus, which has more than 2,200 students.

He said he will study business at Drew, a school he chose “because of the size and also the campus nickname is the forest and it felt like I was back home with all the trees.”

Chilles said his goals in golf moving forward are to “lower my handicap and also to place in a college golf match.”

The strong and slender athlete plays out Boothbay Harbor Country Club and Rockland Golf Club. His handicap is 5.8 and his best nine-hole score is 35 and lowest 18-hole score 71.

Longtime PGA Professional Keenan Flanagan said Chilles has “unlimited potential” and he expects his former No. 1 golfer to realize success on the links in college.

“He was a great performer on the high school golf team for four years,” Flanagan said. “He was a leader. He led by example. Great etiquette. Great kid. He has unlimited potential with his golf game and in life, as a person. He should do very well at Drew University in New Jersey.”

Like all golfers, Chilles continues to work daily on his game, honing his skills in the hope they come together at the same time to reach — and realize — his course potential.

“The things I do well is short game and putting,” he said. “The things I need to work on are off the tee and also my patience.”

In high school, Chilles’ best finish was fourth at the state individual tournament. He was Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference all-conference and all-academic selections

In the winter, Chilles was a strong contributor for the Mariner basketball team, while in the spring, he was vital cog for the baseball squad. Those Mariner squads had solid regular campaigns and playoff runs.

“I find sports to be relaxing so I chose to play them year-round,” he said. “I like playing them because it has allowed me to make new friends. The thing that makes them different is golf is more of an individual sport and baseball and basketball are team sports where you have to work with your teammates to succeed.”

He said being a focal point of the action in baseball as a pitcher and catcher “are two of the most fun positions to play because you are in every play and also you kind of control the way the game goes [depending] on what pitch you call and also where you throw the pitch.”

“Austin was a pleasure to coach and on the baseball field we could play him anywhere on the field,” said Mariner baseball coach Don Shields. “When I first started coaching Austin in Babe Ruth, I thought that he was a middle infielder or center fielder in high school, but when we had a need for a catcher in the program, he was excited about moving behind the plate during the last year of Babe Ruth and made himself into a fine high school catcher. On top of that, he was one of our better pitchers and one of our best hitters. He’s a great kid, outstanding student and a hardworking athlete. I can’t wait to watch Austin from a far as he succeeds as a golfer at Drew University.”

Oceanside’s Austin Chilles makes a pitch in the spring. Photo by Ken Waltz

Despite his individual and team success in three sports, Chilles’ fondest memories are, well, more personal in nature.

“Some of my fondest memories are playing sports with my dad, whether it be playing catch in the backyard or going and playing golf with him,” Chilles said. “Also going out with friends and playing golf, having fun, not caring about what we shoot and trying to hit all kinds of shot shapes and different things on the course.”

With fun and games on the links left for another day, the son of Katie and Jamie Chilles undoubtedly will take a more serious approach to his college golf game  — with an eye on course success at the next level and opportunity to make lifelong memories.