Talent and tenacity — Standout Meadowdale HS golfer Ian Ngethe earns lucrative scholarship

Ian Ngethe, a captain on the Meadowdale High School boys golf team, is a three-time All-Wesco League pick: a first-team selection in 2023 and a second-team pick in 2021 and 2022.

As higher education costs continue to rise, applying for scholarships, grants and loans is a must for high school seniors with hopes of attending (and paying for) college. But the pursuit of financial assistance, especially competitive scholarships, can be a difficult, tedious and overwhelming proposition.

For Edmonds teen Ian Ngethe, the answer to how to pay for college came from the sport he loves.

Ngethe, a senior at Meadowdale High School and four-year member of the Mavericks boys golf team, has been awarded a Chick Evans Scholarship valued at $125,000 to attend the University of Washington over the next four years.

“A full ride to the UW — I’ve very grateful for that,” Ngethe said.

Ngethe, a 3.9 GPA student at Meadowdale, started playing golf at the age of nine through the First Tee teaching program at Seattle’s Jackson Park Golf Course.

“I’m still with the program, with the Ace class,” Ngethe noted. “It’s been a journey and I’ve learned to love the game throughout the years.”

While still a teen with the much-expected interests of hanging out with friends, listening to music and playing basketball, Ngethe emphasized that it’s golf that he thinks about the most with both passion and gratitude.

“It’s reached into my life, honestly, for the better,” he said. “It’s a blessing. It introduced me to this scholarship.”

The Chick Evans Scholarship Program award, started nearly 100 years ago by famed Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans, is presented to applicants nationwide on the basis of achieving academic excellence, exhibiting outstanding personal character, demonstrating financial need and having a strong caddy record.

Meadowdale senior Ian Ngethe has been awarded a Chick Evans Scholarship valued at $125,000 to attend the University of Washington starting this fall.

Ngethe is one of just nine Seattle-area high school seniors to be awarded a Chick Evans Scholarship this year.

While being a strong player himself and a captain on the Meadowdale golf team, Ngethe earned his scholarship in part from caddying for members and guests at the Seattle Golf Club as the scholarship program requires applicants to caddy 80 rounds of golf to qualify for consideration.

Carrying the golf bags of other golfers wasn’t necessarily something Ngethe inspired to do until he heard about the Evans Scholarship and its requirement of caddying experience.

“Caddying was something that was introduced to me and I was like, ‘yeah, let’s try this,’” Ngethe said.

“There was an email saying there’s this thing called the Evans Scholarship,” Ngethe continued. “If you caddy you could get a full ride to the U-Dub. Me and my parents said that’s a cool opportunity.”

Ngethe started caddying at the Seattle Golf Club early last summer and even though he quickly picked up 16 rounds, 80 started to seem unachievable.

“But then I’m like, ‘I think I can really do this,’” he said. “I put my best foot forward, grinding towards it, and thought, ‘maybe this can really happen.’ So that’s what I did.”

Ngethe completed the 80 rounds of caddying well before the scholarship application deadline of Oct. 15, 2023.

To achieve the scholarship’s community service requirement, Ngethe looked to the First Tee program that he was already a part of to learn the sport — Ngethe volunteered to teach and encourage program participants in the younger age group classes.

Ngethe said that he enjoys the role of sharing his love for golf to those younger than him.

“I have a younger sister and a younger brother; they both play golf,” he added. “I’m kind of paving the way. It feels good to just be a role model.”

As his senior year at Meadowdale winds down, Ngethe has one more goal before preparing for his first year at the UW — to qualify for the Class 3A State Boys Golf Championships later this month.

“State is definitely on the radar,” Ngethe said. “I definitely want to make it to state this year. That’s what I’m grinding towards, every single day.”

After this season of prep golf competitions is completed and he receives his diploma from Meadowdale, Ngethe can turn his full attention to preparing for his freshman year at the UW. But the avid golf lover still plans on pursuing his favorite sport both by swinging his own clubs and carrying the clubs of others.

“I’m going to still keep caddying at the Seattle Golf Club,” Ngethe admitted with a smile.

— Story and photos by Doug Petrowski

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