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One shot at a time: Medals, skills coming together for future Mount Si golf leader Caitlyn Maralack
Thin gouts of sand fly as the Caitlyn Maralack whacks ball after ball out of the bunker at Snoqualmie Ridge TPC.
Caitlyn is at home in the sand, just as she is on the green or the rough, or really, anywhere on a golf course.
“I’m working on all the parts of my game, putting it all together,” says Caitlyn. “This is the sport I’m going to stick to. It’s something I’m good at.”
The future Mount Si High School freshman, 14, is an incoming golf phenom for the Wildcats. She took second in the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championship’s girls age 12-13 division, held July 23 to 27 at the Meridian Valley Country Club, after dominating WJGA Districts a week prior.
At WJGA Districts, Caitlyn, who holds a GHIN handicap of 9, scored 77 on the first day, 74 on day two.
Caitlyn recently graduated from Chief Kanim Middle School, where her mother Chriscentia teaches. Her family moved to the United States from Cape Town, South Africa, 12 years ago. They live on the Ridge, and are members of TPC Snoqualmie Ridge.
“We knew there would be a breakthrough soon,” says dad David Maralack. “This seems to be the season she’s putting it together.”
Father and daughter play together, and 6-handicap David hates to say it, but Caitlyn gives him a serious run for his money.
“It’s a great problem to have a 13-year-old who is beating you at the game,” he said.
Caitlyn has played since the age of 5, and was in her first tournament at age 8.
“At that age, it’s just fun. It’s cute,” David said. But youth play gets children into the mindset of the game.
Today, Caitlyn’s hungry on the green.
“I am competitive in almost everything I do,” she said. “Golf is one of the most fun things I do in life.”
She loves the game because she can count on herself, while making friends at the same time. Golf has taught her how to be honest and independent.
“You have to know your own status, your own score,” she said.
Play-wise, “I can count on my short game,” says Caitlyn. She understands the interplay of weather on the course, and enjoys the challenges that Northwest weather brings.
A bad shot can frustrate, but Caitlyn knows to move past it. She’s mad at first, but remembers that it’s all one shot at a time.
“I think, how do I make par from here—find a way to make par,” she said.
Caitlyn practices three times a week and on weekends, balancing play with school, which is her priority. Her favorite subject is math. She’s also a typical movie-loving teen.
“I’d definitely choose golf over math,” she says.
Caitlyn took part in the youth First Tee program at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, and played at the Crossroads youth course in Bellevue, learning the core values of sportsmanship.
She played in the youth programs in middle school, playing in tournaments at Snoqualmie Middle School. Coach Brandon Proudfoot invited her to practice with the Mount Si team, where she’s gotten to know the high school players.
“They made it so welcoming for her,” dad David says.
Now, Caitlyn’s looking forward to playing on her first real team, even as she gets ready for the big transition from middle school to high school.
It’s exciting, but also nerve-wracking to face so many new faces. “Now, I’ve got to make a whole bunch of new friends,” she said.
• You can see Caitlyn Maralack’s WJGA scores at http://www.wjga.net/districtpages/D6/D6Scores.htm. She also won a few Snoqualmie Valley Golf Academy (SVGA) tournaments this year, view scores at http://www.snovalleygolfacademy.com/competition.