Ellie Mann Savored her Senior Season; now looks to the Future

  • Written by Derek Johnson
I’ve been writing about sports long enough to have covered the prep careers of many Woodinville kids. A variety of personalities, for sure. 
Take Jaden Sheffey, for example. I knew him as being Mr. Cool, Calm and Collected as the Woodinville quarterback. And then there was Regan Schenck, the former point guard for the Lady Falcons. I once likened her playing style to a German Shephard chasing after raw hamburger.
Ellie Mann last month became another to graduate. I’ve known her mostly through her gymnastics career. Her style has always reminded me of that Ernest Hemingway quote: “Courage is grace under pressure.”
ellie2Woodinville’s Ellie Mann clears the bar. (Courtesy photo)
Last winter she capped off her gymnastics career by standing on the podium at the State tourney. This spring, she returned to the State tourney for track and Field. And went out in grand style, standing on the podium there, too.   
“Finishing in the top 5 in the state in two sports was a good way to end my senior year,” she said.
Mann placed strong emphasis on her senior season. As a sophomore, she competed in the pole vault and finished on the podium at State. As she stood on the podium wearing her new shiny medal, she thought: “I could get good at this!”
But she sustained a stress fracture which disrupted her off-season conditioning. And then she missed her junior year due to a gymnastics injury the previous winter.
She’d lost an entire year. So now she had one final shot in her senior season of 2019.
“It was rough not having my junior year for prepping for that senior year,” Mann said. “Coming into the season, I set a really high goal for myself. I wanted to be in the 12’-12'6” range.”
thumbnail IMG 1029 2Ellie Mann in action (Courtesy photo)
Her first meet of the 2019 season brought a shot of extra confidence. Mann set a personal record by vaulting 11'6" and winning the event. “That was my happiest moment of the season,” she said.
But capping off her senior season by finishing fifth at State was pretty good too.
She also talked about the many friendships she developed on the track and field team. This included Holland Pilukas, the sophomore who finished 2nd at State in the pole vault and 5th in the high jump. 
“Holland did a phenomenal job and peaked [in the high jump] when it mattered,” Mann said. “I was impressed with her ability to push through... and being so humble and happy about it, was just great. It has been great to grow up with her a little bit.”
Two other teammates cited by Mann were Gabi Hansen and Cindy Mays. “They're both sophomores and have a lot of potential,” Mann said. “They’re both characters. They made me laugh and smile even on the worst days. They were always there messing around and joking around, which was needed in certain parts of the season.”
As Mann graduated from Woodinville last month, she felt melancholy about moving on from her prep athletic career.
“There are a lot of emotions that go with it,” Mann said. “Obviously it was exciting to end the season successfully. But also there's some sadness in there as well. Letting go of something that has been important to you. But overall a great experience.”
Mann was awarded a scholarship from the Parker Moore Memorial Scholarship Fund. Parker Moore was a former Woodinville student and football player who was murdered in 2014. Each year since, the Moore Family has awarded $10,000 scholarships to Woodinville kids looking to go to college.
Mann was one of fifty kids to fill out an application and undergo the scrutiny of an interview with the Moore family.
“When I walked in there, I was going to treat it like I treat any interview,” Mann said. “Be formal but also be myself.
“The Moores actually lived down the street from us until they moved last year,” she said. “I didn't know them particularly well, but I definitely knew of Parker. My older brothers knew him better.
“During the interview, we talked about the different values that [Parker] had,” Mann said. “I have known about the values because 44 Strong is well known throughout our community. Parker’s focus on athleticism, DECA and marketing, and being a great friend and a leader.
“In talking with his parents more, I was able to paint a clearer picture of him,” she said. “But also being able to share parts of my life as well. It ended up being a really touching experience... It created more of a connection since I hadn't known him that well. I was glad to talk with his parents more. I felt honored to receive that scholarship.”
Mann will be attending Brigham Young University in the fall. She’s planning to study exercise and wellness. But she doesn’t know the exact path her future holds.
It was mentioned to her that BYU once stole a national championship in football from Washington back in 1984. Alas, she was unfazed.
“Yup!” she said cheerfully. “They've had some good years for sure. Specifically football, we have a good lineup of home games this year so I'm really excited. I’m excited for football and all the other sports. I'm a sportsaholic.”
As fate would have it, the Washington Huskies travel to Utah this September to play BYU. Mann plans to be in attendance. “Yup, that’ll be fun!” she said.
She still hasn’t decided if she will try to walk on as a pole vaulter at BYU. But she’s looking forward for the next chapter of her life.
“I'll be living in a different state,” she said. “That'll be exciting to be on my own. I won't have a ton of people I know going there, but that will be exciting to meet a lot of new people.”

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