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The Unparalleled Brilliance of Ellie Miyata and Other Musings

  • Written by Derek Johnson

As I approached Ellie Miyata last Thursday and took out my audio recorder, the Woodinville senior balked. 

“Oh no,” she said with a wary voice. “Not this again.”

It was the first time I’d seen Miyata this year. I was confused by her reaction, but soon she explained. It turned out that when last year’s article was published about the golf team, her mom proudly told everyone about her being quoted in The Woodinville Weekly. Problem was, Miyata thought I took the one inane thing she said and turned it into the article’s lead. 

DSC 5031Woodinville freshman Hailey Steffens shoots from the second tee at Lynnwood Golf Course last Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Derek Johnson)

The article went like so:    

After a cold and soggy spring, a mysterious glowing orb appeared in the western sky last Wednesday afternoon. Woodinville’s Ellie Miyata looked up from the 7th green at Coyote Creek at Willows Run.

 “That’s the sun!” Miyata said. “It’s really nice and hot. It’s different because we usually play in really cold weather. It’s nice when you’re not freezing to death!”

“It made me look dumb,” Miyata said with a smile. “Even my mom wondered why I said something so dumb.”

I told Miyata that I wanted to make amends. Perhaps a discussion on quantum physics?

She liked that idea. Her friend and teammate Malia Engle giggled as Miyata spoke in a mock grandiose manner.

“I would just like to thank my physics teacher for letting me have an A in his class,” Miyata said. “I actually got a B+ but then they changed back to an A-… Thank God!”
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Now that we’d established that Ms. Miyata had an IQ well above a bucket of rocks, we were free to talk some golf.

Last year’s Woodinville team only had three members. They were forced to forfeit every match. But this year’s club expanded to seven players.  

“I thought there was only going to be two of us in the very beginning, because nobody else wanted to join,” Miyata said. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to play. But in the end, Malia really wanted to do it. So I said okay even though there would only be two of us. But then [coach] Krochmalny quit, and we got the new coach. And a week later we suddenly had a full team. I was happy about that.”

The new coach was George Sayah, who also serves as head coach for Woodinville’s Swim and Dive teams.

“We were fortunate to have a pool of swim and dive athletes to recruit from,” Sayah said. “That was the first place that we hit. Once we got those athletes on board, we got others. We’ve got seven which is a good number for us. We can play ten in each match, so that’s the goal. Right now it’s about establishing the program.”

In addition to Miyata and Engle, the team includes Emma Vandervort, Ashley Groesbeck, Hailey Steffens, Charlotte Nunes and team manger Natalie Wetmore.

“Ashley Groesbeck came to us as a freshman,” Sayah said. “She was with us in the fall as a swimmer. Pretty new to the sport but has taken to it nicely. She shot a 58 at Redmond Ridge a couple weeks ago, and qualified for the post season. We’re excited about that. Emma Vandervort is our captain and she has done a good job keeping the golfers together. And it has been great to have Ellie and Malia back as returners as well. They bring with them that experience. It has been fun so far.”

On this day, Woodinville was outmanned by a large North Creek squad. The Falcons lost by seventy strokes. Woodinville needs to grow its roster and gain experience – and the wins will come later.

As the afternoon was winding down, I said my goodbyes to several players, including Miyata. 

She smiled and was about to take a swig from a water bottle. But then she paused and looked at me with furrowed brow.

“Don’t make me look dumb,” she said.

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