Mercer Island High School senior girls golf captain Mayah Park glances around at three of her teammates, nods her head and smiles.
She enjoys seeing Yumi Baston, Elle Evans and Lucia Morelli succeed this season and help lead the Islanders to a 3-0 record at press time.
“I would never say anybody ever gives up,” Park said. “I just want the best for the girls. I just want them to have a fun time.”
Park is a leader on the links — and a jokester, as well.
When describing the girls’ tight-knit relationship, she notes, “We love each other, I know that… sometimes.” Everyone laughs. They know the comment is all in jest and it’s almost like they expected Park to deliver a dose of humor.
The girls gathered near the Jefferson Park Golf Course clubhouse in Seattle following a recent round against Juanita and discussed what makes the Islanders one of the top teams in 3A KingCo this season.
Senior captain Baston said the team has heaps of experience and the girls have sharpened their skills in practices and at many tournaments. She noted that the Islanders are always striving for maximum improvement, adding that they bond on and off the course.
“We play partner golf, so you get to know your partner really well. This year, my partner is Lucia. We’ve had a lot of fun, especially if you’re paired up with older kids, that was my experience freshman year. You learn a lot from their experience and what they have to teach you,” noted Baston, whose best score this season is a 3-over 38 in nine-hole matches.
Speaking of Morelli, the sophomore has shot a pair of even-par 36s this season during nine-hole contests.
She recalled what Mother Nature had to offer during those rounds and how the soggy conditions actually worked in her favor.
“It was pouring down rain both of the rounds. For me when it’s raining, it tends to kind of loosen me up. I can’t really think as much ‘cause I’m mainly trying to stay dry and get back in, so I don’t dwell (on shots) as much,” she said.
Sophomore Evans’ best league score this season is a 38 on nine holes, while on the 18-hole nonleague front, she shot a near-par 73 during a Spokane tournament.
She enjoys the team aspect of the sport and receiving mentorship from the seniors.
“Although it’s an individual sport, I feel like we can still help each other. We do putting competitions or we take swing videos of each other, so we’re still getting to know each other,” she said.
One of the best pieces of advice Evans can offer a fellow golfer is to not let their mind get wrapped around bad shots.
“It’s important to realize that you can’t fix anything that happened in the past, and the most important shot is the next one. You just have to go from there and try to make up what you did on the last holes,” she said.
For Park, she’s constantly trying to better her score each time out. Her best mark is a 41 thus far on nine holes, but she’d like to break into the 30s like she’s done in solo rounds before.
“I feel like it’s just fun to do,” she said of challenging herself. “And then seeing my friends and my teammates, it’s a good time.”
Next up for the Islanders is the 3A KingCo medalist tournament on May 12 at Snohomish Golf Course.