The Maui News 2014 MIL Golf All-Stars
As Kimberlie Miyamoto and Ariel Elftman-Hanson sat in the Baldwin High School gym on their last day of school, they envisioned NCAA Division I golf careers.
Each glanced at Tyler Munetake and realized they were leaving the leadership role for Bears golf in good hands.
Maui Interscholastic League coaches named the Baldwin trio The Maui News MIL Golfers of the Year – Miyamoto is the unanimous girls pick, while Munetake and Elftman-Hanson share the boys award.
“We are just all so close to each other, we push each other,” Elftman-Hanson said Wednesday. “Me and Tyler have been pushing each other all these years and we have three freshmen on our team – that really kept us on our toes.”
Elftman-Hanson is headed to Utah Valley University, and will join Justin Keiley (Brigham Young), Alex Chiarella (San Diego) and Aaron Kunitomo (UCLA) as MIL graduates making their marks in NCAA men’s play.
“It shows that all the hard work pays off,” Elftman-Hanson said. “I think that this is my best season so far. I think I’m well prepared for college.”
Munetake won the MIL individual title, while Elftman-Hanson led the league’s contingent at the state tournament with a seventh-place finish. They are joined on the MIL boys first team by teammate Justin Ngan, Kamehameha Maui’s Lucas Park and Lahainaluna’s Kerek Franz.
The other girls first-teamers are Baldwin’s Kirsten Ishi-kawa, Maui High’s Jasmine Cabajar and Lahainaluna’s Caitlyn Villatora.
“It’s pretty cool to share it with Tyler,” Elftman-Hanson said. “When people ask us, ‘Who’s better?’ You can’t really say. Any of us can beat each other on any given day.”
Munetake added: “It’s super cool. We have been playing with each other ever since we were 8, 9 years old. I still remember the days back in Maui Junior Golf at Waiehu. We always traded off spots, like still how it is today.”
Munetake, who will be a senior next year, said he learned from Elftman-Hanson.
“Ariel was always one of those straight-ball hitters and I was all over the place,” Munetake said. “He really influenced me on what plays to make.”
The Baldwin boys finished third in the state this season, and as Elftman-Hanson said, “it’s Tyler’s team to lead next year.”
Miyamoto will play at Eastern Washington, joining former teammates Cassy Isagawa (Oregon) and Marissa Uradomo (Indiana State) at the top rung of college golf.
“Cassy was a huge inspiration to me, just watching her play and how in between holes, how she would take her time, be talking and having fun,” Miyamoto said. “When it came down to approaching a shot, everything goes away – it is a whole new world to her.”
Miyamoto won the five-round MIL individual tournament by 23 strokes.
“I think everything hit me today, realizing it was the last day of school,” she said. “When I found out I was Player of the Year I was so honored, I didn’t even know there was such a thing. For me, I was very touched. There’s so many other great golfers.”
Ralph Miyamoto, Kimberlie’s father, is the president of Maui Junior Golf Association.
“I didn’t realize the reason why I stuck through it is because of my parents and my friends’ parents,” Kimberlie Miyamoto said. “And all the support that they give us – that just made it more comfortable to continue.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org
* This article contains a correction from the original published May 23, 2014. MIL golf: Kerek Franz of Lahainaluna High School, was a member of this year’s Maui Interscholastic League boys golf first-team All-Stars. An incorrect photo ran Friday on Page B3. The Maui News apologizes for the error.