The Mercer Island girls golf team earned a big victory on Thursday, despite a last-minute change of venue, facing down the school’s biggest rival in undefeated Bellevue and battling physical ailments.
The Islanders crushed the Wolverines, 216 strokes to 254, during the match. The win gives Mercer Island at least a share of the 3A KingCo title, and could take the championship outright with a win against Inglemoor High School on Tuesday (after Reporter deadline).
The win also keeps the Islanders undefeated in the season with two matches left and pushes the regular season win streak to 21.
“It was a good team victory,” said Mercer Island girls golf coach Don Papasedero. “But this comes from great leadership.”
One of the biggest leaders on the team this year has been senior Lindsay Chinn, who became the Mercer Island High School girls golf career par leader during the match while battling a cold. Chinn finished the day in a four-way tie for second place by completing the course in 44 strokes.
“I can’t praise her enough,” said Papasedero. “She is the best athletic leader in any sport that I have ever coached.”
Chinn was also named a First Tee Scholar Athlete this week.
Mercer Island is continuing to be led by freshman Chelsea Saelee, who shot a 38 on the par 36 Jefferson Golf Course on Thursday. Saelee has proved to be one of the best golfers in the state this season. Papasedero has faith that all of his younger golfers will continue to play well, even through the pressure of the postseason.
“They have really risen to the quality of play this year and occasionally dropped to the level of play,” said Papasedero. “The only thing that can beat this team is our team.”
Mercer Island junior Jackie Pearson also finished in the three-way tie for second with 44 strokes, while junior Kristen Numata and freshman Hailey Chinn tied for fifth place with 45 strokes.
“I think they are continuing to keep their eye on improvement,” said Papasedero. “This is the best team in school history.”
Only one Bellevue golfer finished in the top six.
Mercer Island also earned an 85-stroke victory against 4A class Bothell High School on April 27. Hailey Chinn and Saelee tied for first place overall with a score of 42 strokes on the par 36 course. Lindsay Chinn finished third, while Pearson was fourth with 47 strokes. No Bothell players were able to crack the top six, as Islanders Sarah Peterson and Casey Smalley tied for fifth with 49 strokes.
The Islanders’ final regular season match of the year will be at 4 p.m., tomorrow, at Jefferson Golf Course, as they host 4A Ballard. The KingCo championships will be held on Monday at the Snohomish Golf Course.