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Girls remain undefeated in KingCo
Big meet against Skyline tomorrow
Mercer Island Reporter
The Mercer Island girls golf team has lost just one meet in the last two seasons. That loss came at the end of last year and cost the team an undefeated season and the 3A KingCo title. This week, the Islanders have a rare chance to make up for that loss.
“Last season, we lost a lot of focus because we looked past Skyline and were thinking too much about KingCo and districts,” said Islander Kirby Thornton. “This season, we have only been focused on the next match, and we’ve been determined to win it.”
That strategy has been key for a team that is 9-0, including two big victories last week.
“We have approached every meet the same way,” said Islander Lizzy Lee. “We don’t want to make it any more stressful than it already is.”
The Islanders took on Mount Si on April 14 and the stress came more from the weather than the opponent. Hail, snow and driving rain made the course miserable for golf, along with temporary greens. But the Islanders’ combined team score of 209 led to a blowout as the Wildcats completed the course in 266 strokes.
“It was not a fun day to be playing,” said Thornton. “But we got the win.”
Islander Tracy Tomlinson led all golfers with a medalist score of 38, two over par for Jefferson Golf Course in Seattle. Islander Lindsay Chinn shot a 40, while Thornton finished in 42 strokes.
“It is tough sometimes when you play poorly to get that mental edge back,” said Lee, who scored a 44. “But you just have to play for fun.”
The Islanders continued their winning ways the next day as they beat Issaquah on the course in nearly the same conditions by shooting a combined 237 strokes, while the Eagles finished with 252 strokes.
“We have a lot of depth this year, and those girls have really come through,” said Thornton, who has only lost to two opposing golfers this season. “I have improved a lot mentally this season, and I just feel more like a golfer.”
That feeling led to Thornton’s 42-stroke performance against Issaquah, a team best on the day. The depth of the team came through as Chinn and Ogishima both scored a 45.
The strength in Islander depth is not just on the varsity squad, according to Thornton.
“Jacqie Pearson recently came up from JV, and she has done really well,” said Thornton.
Pearson scored a 44 and contributed to a varsity team score.
The Islanders will need all the depth in the arsenal this week after traveling to Newport Hills on Monday to take on Newport and Bellevue on Tuesday (both were after Reporter deadline). But the big meet will come tomorrow against Skyline at the Plateau Club Golf Course.
“This league is so close this year,” said Thornton. “Bellevue was supposed to be the team to beat this season. Everyone always seems to overlook us. We’re not overlooking anyone.”
With three victories this week, the Islanders would not only clinch the KingCo title and an undefeated season but would compile 12 wins in one season for the first time in school history.