Snaps undefeated streak
By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter
For the second consecutive year, the Mercer Island High School boys golf team is the 3A KingCo regular season champion. The Islanders clinched the title on Oct. 1 at the Newcastle Golf Course as they defeated Newport with 201 strokes to 210.
“Winning KingCo two years in a row is a great reward,” said Mercer Island High School boys golf coach Tyson Peters.
Leading the way for the Islanders was senior Paul Mitzel, who shot par with 36 strokes, taking medalist honors. Islander Kyle Code tied for second with 39 strokes.
The victory gave Mercer Island seven victories on the season and Newport its second loss with one match to play. Three 3A KingCo team finishes in second place with two losses. But the Islanders would break one very long winning streak with a season-ending loss to Skyline Thursday.
“We are very pround of that unbeaten streak,” said Peters. “We wanted to keep it up, but that is how it goes sometimes.”
The loss came on one of the toughest courses in KingCo and in a place that the Islanders have traditionally struggled — the Plateau Club.
“It is always a big challenge because it is very narrow, and you can get penalized really easy,” said Peters.
Despite their track record and missing the team’s top scorer in Mitzel, the Islanders only lost the match by four strokes 190-194 to the Spartans.
“They are a tough team on their course,” said Peters. “Last year we played them at home.”
The loss not only broke the Islanders’ invincibility for 2007, but also broke a string of 17 straight 3A KingCo regular season meets without a loss dating back to 2005. Mercer Island ran the table in 2006 with an 8-0 record to win their first 3A KingCo title. The 2005 season finished with a victory and a tie against Interlake.
“It was a good match regardless,” said Peters. “You can’t say for certain we would have won, but Paul would have made a big difference.”
Mitzel missed the meet to play in a national tournament.
Despite the loss, the Islanders had good scores for such a tough course. Islander Dan Kern completed the course in 35 strokes to tie for first and medalist honors. Kyle Code placed second for the Islanders with 38 strokes, while Brian Tolkin and Matt Condon both shot a 40. Islander freshman Charlie Kern continues to play solid in his first high school season, finishing with a score of 41.
Peters said that while his team’s scores seemed to escalate during the first few matches of the season, they have leveled off and have not dropped.
“We peaked early,” said Peters. “Some of our players can definitely get better. But we have good potential to place a lot of kids high at districts and state.”
The Islanders will be able to see how they stack up with other league champions during the next week as they take on Auburn-Riverside, the SPSL North division champions, and Seattle Prep, the Metro league champions.
But the big tests will begin on Monday, Oct. 15, at the Medalist tournament, which will be held at the Snohomish Golf Course, with districts to follow on Oct. 22 at Riverbend Golf Course in Kent.
“Next week, we will really see where we are,” said Peters. “But after that there is no room for error. One round can make or break your season.”