Duane and Lark Nii, as eye surgeon and dentist, have plenty of answers for many people.
Yet they’re stumped by a question involving the ambitious lifestyle of their only child, Clovis West High junior Madison Nii.
How is it possible, they’re asked, for the 16-year-old to be involved in Girls Scouts, campus leadership, play trumpet in the school band, carry a weighted 4.4 GPA and play golf at a high level – so high, she’s The Fresno Bee’s Player of the Year?
I’m not sure how she does it, to be honest with you. I do know she goes to sleep earlier than most, usually at 9:30 and gets up early to study, sometimes at 4 in the morning.
Duane Nii on the ambitious, multifaceted lifestyle of daughter Madison
“I’m not sure how she does it, to be honest with you,” Dad says. “I do know she goes to sleep earlier than most, usually at 9:30 and gets up early to study, sometimes at 4 in the morning.”
And all this with hardly a push from the parents.
“No, she’s pretty much self-driven,” Dad says.
For all her achievements, including Player of the Year in the Tri-River Athletic Conference, where she averaged 74.6 for 18 holes, Nii lands The Bee honor by a blade of grass on a Bermuda green.
Other finalists were teammate Aya Enkoji, a junior and three-time Bee All-Star, and Clovis North senior Tammy Lim, a four-time Bee All-Star.
It’s a compliment to the Tri-River Athletic Conference, clearly the preeminent league of girls golf in the Central Section.
Nii and Enkoji have helped lead Clovis West to section Division I titles in each of their three seasons, meaning they’re running out of ring fingers.
3 Central Section Division I titles Madison Nii has contributed to in three seasons at Clovis West
And, for Nii, surely there’s no place for all the jewelry while playing the trumpet: “No, I just leave them in the box.”
She plays big – at but 5-foot-3 1/2 inches – a par machine accurate off the tee and exceptional in the short game.
But she says little.
“She’s always been the quiet one,” Eagles coach Ken Shipley says. “But she’s getting more comfortable and really has evolved nicely.”
Nii prides herself on launching on campus the Leadership Experience Opportunity, which, through her father’s membership in the Fresno Host Lions Club, refurbishes used eyeglasses and hearing aids and provides them to people who can’t afford them in Third World countries.
Clovis West has provided hundreds of pairs.
“My dad’s club has donation boxes and they wanted more kids’ glasses,” the daughter says. “They have junior clubs for schools, but Clovis Unified didn’t have one so I asked what I can do? So I started one.”
It’s all part of time management that she has mastered: “I practice golf, practice my trumpet, volunteer, do my homework – they all have their times,” she says with a chuckle. “It’s not that hard.”
She’s applauded by Eagles Athletic Director Matt Loggins: “Madison’s is a tremendous young lady. She is extremely competitive and possesses a laser-like focus on the course. She is a great teammate and leads by example.”
The Fresno Bee Girls Golf All-Stars Fab 15
- Lauren Parayno, frosh, Bullard
- Mia Goudy, jr., Buchanan
- Jocelyn Twet, sr., Buchanan
- Caitlin Figura, jr., Central
- Serena DiMauro, sr., Central
- Morgan Polley, jr., Clovis East
- Tammy Lim, sr., Clovis North
- Caroline Swanson, sr., Clovis North
- Aya Enkoji, jr., Clovis West
- Kayla Terrey, soph., Clovis West
- Allyson Musser, sr., Clovis West
- Taylor Dufresne, soph., Clovis West
- Meredith McDougal, frosh, Memorial
- Hannah Steagall, jr., Sanger
- Claire Oetinger, jr., Yosemite
Girls Golf Coach of the Year
KEN SHIPLEY, CLOVIS WEST
He’s qualified because: The statistics would seem to be the coach’s defining bio – 10 for 10 in Tri-River Athletic Conference titles, 9 for 10 in Central Section North Area Tournaments and 8 for 10 section team tournament championships. And the Golden Eagles went unbeaten in the TRAC, won the North Area by 29 strokes and the section Division I tournament by 39 with but one senior. But, in a sport that commonly finds high-level players committed to private swing coaches, Shipley’s staple has been his continued ability to promote harmony among teammates. And perhaps never better than this season.
He said it: “I think if you’re going to spend a lot of time with each other then you really ought to like each other and make a team out of it. To me, that’s important. I realize there are teams, not necessarily in the Valley, that have five individuals and add up the scores. But I don’t think that works as well in an environment where you’re with each other four days a week in the fall. This was another delightful team to coach and be a part of. The girls were close, strived to do well and keep getting better, and they helped each other in practice. I think that’s been a big part of Clovis West’s success.” – Shipley