By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Welcome to another edition of The Layup Drill. In this month’s edition, we cover the University of Washington (UW)’s Women’s Golf Team winning a national title, a new class of members inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame, a new Spelling Bee champ crowned, and a Chinese prospect eyeing the NBA draft.
Rhee and Ying help Washington women’s golf team to NCAA Championship
Sarah Rhee was once a little known freshman on the Husky golf team. However, with the Huskies in the national semifinals of the women’s NCAA golf championships in Eugene, Oreg., Rhee stepped up when her team needed her the most. In match play format, where one golfer plays another with the winner taking it all, the Huskies needed Rhee to defeat her opponent from UCLA. Down 3 holes to her opponent, with just 3 holes left to play, Rhee battled back to force a sudden death. Stuck in a sand bunker on the first hole of the playoffs, Rhee made an incredible shot to roll the ball into the hole, effectively winning the hole and helping the Huskies advance to the championship against Stanford.
In the finals, against defending ladies’ champions, the Huskies played close and received great play from Ying Luo. The senior from China made incredible shots to put the UW women’s team up for good. It was her birdie on the last hole that secured the championship for the Huskies. “When I was standing behind the shot, I was imagining it going in,” Ying said, in the post-match interview. She said she was thinking about Rhee’s incredible play the day before and wanted to do the same. She did.
It was a great way to go out for Ying, who was an All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention in 2014 and 2015. She was the first Huskies’ golf recruit from China.
Ying plans on majoring in marketing and is interested in running golf tournaments after graduation.
It is the first National Championship for the Women’s Golf Team. Congratulations!
Spelling Bee (Co) champs crowned
The annual exploitation of young children’s spelling abilities, for the purpose of making money by putting it on prime time cable television, better known as the Scripps National Spelling Bee, took place late last month.
The spelling bee, which aired in prime-time on ESPN, came down to 11-year-old Nihar Janga of Austin, Texas and 13-year-old Jairam Hathwar of Painted Post, N.Y. Both were declared co-champions after going through 39 rounds of competition. It is the third straight year that the contest ended in a draw. Notably, Jairam’s brother, Sriram, was a co-winner in 2014.
Maybe I am being too hard on this contest for exploiting young children with unneeded pressure to perform in front of a national television audience. The kids are treated like sports stars and since we now consider video games as a sport, maybe spelling is a sport. It does give the kids and their parents an opportunity to be on television and do things they would not be able to do if they were just holding the finals in a school cafeteria.
The co-champs are actually friends and now that the competition is over, the two will be playing video games with each other.
Yamaguchi and Lee inducted into Asian Hall of Fame
The Robert Chinn Foundation inducted four honorees into the Asian Hall of Fame at its annual banquet this past May at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle. The banquet introduced sports figures Kristi Yamaguchi and Bruce Lee into its Hall of Fame.
Yamaguchi is a former American figure skater. She was the 1992 Olympic champion, a two-time World Champion, and the 1992 U.S. champion. She also holds the distinction of being a champion on the ABC reality competition show, “Dancing with the Stars.”
Yamaguchi is a fourth-generation descendent of Japanese emigrants. Her grandparents were sent to an internment camp during World War II.
Growing up in Fremont, Calif., Yamaguchi began skating as a child as physical therapy for her club feet. Little did she know that her physical therapy would make her an Olympic and World Champion.
“I am Asian American at my core. I am half Japanese, half American,” Yamaguchi stated during her acceptance speech. “Sometimes I didn’t feel Asian enough. Sometimes I didn’t feel Caucasian enough,” as she reflected on being an Asian American role model.
As we all know Bruce Lee has deep roots in Seattle, as he attended the University of Washington and started his martial arts school in the city. The Wing Luke Museum has dedicated a 3-year excursion into the life, times, and philosophies of the martial artist, television star, and movie star. Linda Cadwell, Lee’s widow, spoke on behalf of Lee at the banquet. “He was not just an actor, he was a multi-faceted person with thought provoking wisdom and was a trailblazer,” Cadwell said about her late husband. “He was an amazing teacher, and his legacy goes far beyond fighting fists.”
Chinese prospect in NBA
Zhou Qi, a 7-foot-2 Chinese Basketball Association center will be available for the NBA Draft this month.
Just 20 years old, Zhou could be the next great Chinese center following the footsteps of Yao Ming. Zhou is projected to be a first-round pick. The hype behind the center appears to be real, as he was the first Chinese player in over a decade to be invited to the NBA draft combine. The combine looks at the top players that
NBA teams are most likely to pick in the draft.
NBA scouts see Zhou as a great prospect with very good length and mobility.
Zhou first gained notoriety in 2011 as a teenager, when he scored 41 points, grabbed 28 rebounds, and had 15 blocks in a game against Germany in international play.
Jason Cruz can be reached at email@example.com.