Mercer Island girls golfers in the hunt for the elusive KingCo crown three-peat

It has never been done before. Never in the history of the KingCo conference has a girls golf team won the crown three years in a row, but in two weeks that could all change.

The Islanders are just a couple of matches away from earning their third straight KingCo 3A golf title, which would only be the cherry on top of another stellar season for the girls team.

“I think it’s going pretty well,” said senior captain Kristen Numata last week. “We’re staying strong, and we want KingCo enough to drive us to play well.”

The team is riding a 30-match winning streak, beating not only conference opponents in KingCo, but also non-conference matches, said head coach Don Papasedero.

“If we can succeed and win KingCo, it would be the third time in a row, which has never happened before,” he said.

The team recently topped Woodinville at Wayne Golf Course and beat Bellevue last week at Jefferson Park Golf Course, both of which Papasedero said were two of the season’s biggest hurdles.

“Our toughest match, not in numbers, but the course at Wayne is very difficult,” said Numata. “It was very muddy, very wet. It was just hard to play with lots of hills. It’s not what we’re used to. In terms of numbers, Bellevue was our closest competitive match. They are very good and were a contender for KingCo until we beat them. There was a lot of stress because if we hadn’t beat them there was no way we could win KingCo.” She added that Papasedero had told the girls to focus on playing and not on the outcome of the match, which worked for the team. They beat Bellevue 227 strokes to 252.

Before the girls can claim the KingCo crown, they must first get past Ballard, Bothell and Inglemoor, the last of which the coach expects to be another test of the team.

“The girls are positioning themselves well [for KingCo, districts and state],” he said.

Numata said a key so far this season has been getting back into the swing of the game and remembering to practice. He added that practices really do help. As a captain, part of her job is making sure the team is practicing and offering tips to other members of the team, as well as to her partner, which often changes throughout the season. Personally, Numata said she’s working on her short game.

“I’ve always been alright at putting, but if you chip it onto the green and your a foot away from the hole, it makes it that much easier,” she said. Numata added those little hits can make all the difference in scores, which can have a big impact on the team’s total.

Players that Papasedero mentioned who have been consistent throughout the season, posting solid scores for the team include: Numata, Sarah Peterson, Haley Chinn, Chelsee Saelee, Kayce Ogishima and Jackie Pearson.

The girls JV team has also been doing well, he said. Currently they have a 6-1 record, which Papasedero said is “quiet a feat for JV”.

The Islanders traveled to West Seattle Golf Course yesterday, after Reporter deadline, to face Ballard, before heading to Wayne Golf Course today to face Bothell and will host Inglemoor at home on Monday, May 3.

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