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Youthful golf team aims high
No boys golf team in the past decade has won KingCo in three consecutive seasons. Last year’s repeat of the KingCo title was not only a great achievement for the squad, but it gave the boys a chance to make history.
Still, the team will have to win the league title this year facing new teams on new courses with just three returning varsity players.
“We have the ability to give it a run for the third time,” said Mercer Island Coach Tyson Peters. “But it won’t be easy.”
The biggest challenge in front of the Islanders will be Woodinville High School, a team which won the 4A KingCo league title last season before realignment dropped them to the 3A level. Mercer Island will also get a healthy challenge from Mount Si.
The realignment of the league also means big changes for the Islanders.
“We lost a couple of good, challenging courses and we lost some good quality opponents,” said Peters. “We also have some rule changes.”
The scoring will take the top five scores from eight varsity players. That leaves Mercer Island in better shape this season than it would have been last year.
Peters is comfortable with his top four players: sophomores Charlie Kern, Kyle Code, Crofits Leeds and junior Kirby Ingram.
“Kyle placed 18th at state as a freshman, and I know he can get back there and do even better,” said Peters. “And Charlie has been playing tournaments all over the country. They are both just phenomenal players.”
Peters said that both will have to take on leadership roles. With so many seniors on last year’s team, the boys will have to adjust quickly.
“We are going to have to lead the team, which will be an adjustment,” said Code. “You play different when you are on a team and you have to be a good teammate.”
Last season, the Islanders dominated on their depth with four of the top players in the state. Peters still believes he has the top four but knows they must develop the depth to compete for another league title.
“It is a bit of a rebuilding year from the perspective of our depth,” said Peters. “But the talent is there.”
By the new rules, the Islanders will need only one young player to step up per meet.
“We could win the league, but we need some of the new players to do well,” said Code.
One thing that won’t change is the Islanders’ home course: Twin Rivers in Preston. The year of experience from last season will aid the young Islanders when they take on Woodinville.
“They are really nice to us and give up a lot of perks,” said Code. “Knowing the course is a big advantage for us because many teams will have never played there before.”