Girls golf gets back to winning ways in KingCo tournament

Heading into the KingCo medalist tournament after seeing a 75-match win streak snapped, Mercer Island golf instructor Tim Okamura felt the girls golf team needed a laugh.

“[Tim] said, ‘hey, don’t forget to have fun.’ That brought some giggles to the girls,” said head coach Don Papasedero. “The wisest thing to do was to get them to giggle before they started.”

The Mercer Island girls golf team bounced back from its first match loss in over six years to take the top spot in the KingCo medalist tournament Monday, May 12, posting the match’s lowest team score of 431 and advancing five girls to the district tournament.

The Islanders finished 16 strokes ahead of Bellevue, which placed second with a team score of 447. Interlake tied Mount Si for third with a score of 474.

When asked if the Islanders played with an added chip on its shoulder after losing to Bellevue in its final conference match, Papasedero shot it down, saying the Islanders were worried more about themselves than the opponents.

“Every girl shot below average, they really excelled,” said Papasedero. “They went hard, practiced hard and did well.”

Freshman Rachel Fujitani had the match’s second-lowest score, posting a 74 to lead the Islanders. Carsen Harkins posted an 87 to place eighth, Kate Peterson had an 88 to finish ninth, Giovanna Orecchio shot a 90 to finish 12th and Molly White had a score of 92 to take 17th.

Katie Rorem earned the alternate berth, besting Sammamish’s Myra Maza in a playoff after both posted scores of 93.

With five girls advancing to the district round, Mercer Island boasts the most representatives from a KingCo school, something not lost on Papasedero.

For Harkins, one of the biggest things that stuck out from the KingCo tournament was when Rorem had to play the tiebreaker hole with the alternate berth at stake.

“That moment it became a team thing, standing at the hole and giving her the best support we could, and [letting] her know the whole team was there supporting her,” said Harkins.

While the focus may shift toward individual players with the top individual finishers advancing as the postseason progresses, Papasedero says the team concept remains throughout for the Islanders.

“No matter how far we go, the girls always ask each other how their teammates are doing and look to team scores. They’re very interested in how the team did,” he said. “They’re pretty invested on being a team, that goes on this Monday and the following week. It’s kind of how they do business.”


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