Sports

Girls' golf team a year older, and a year wiser

The Mount Si girls' golf team returns with a solid group of players from last season's team. Coached by Mike Johnston, in his 18th season at the head of the program, the Wildcats feature nine players.

Leading the group is Katie Somers. Somers, a sophomore, finished a close second to Issaquah's Brittany Tallman at the WIAA 3A girls' state golf tournament in Spokane last season. She used that strong finish as a springboard for a very superb performance during her summer season with the Washington Junior Golf Association, winning three of four subdistrict events and finishing second in the district championship tournament. Somers finished her season well at the WJGA state tournament in Wenatchee last July.

Junior Becky Wada, also returning this season, is looking for a lot from Somers. "She's just a great girl all around and with her skills, I expect a lot of leadership roles out of her because she has been playing most of her life and she can help support the other girls," said Wada.

Also among the returning golfers this year are two seniors, Alyssa Bliven and Whitney Eand. There is one lone newcomer, junior Emily King. King is looking to improve her game. "I played about five years ago and both my parents are really into golf, and we live up in Snoqualmie Ridge so I just thought it would be a good experience to be on the golf team," King said.

Wada believes the Eagles and Mercer Island will be at the top of the league, but Johnston believes Interlake should be given some mention, as well. "They have a number of girls who play for a private club up there (Tam O'Shanter Golf Course in Bellevue near Interlake's campus). They have a group of girls that have committed themselves to playing golf," Johnston said.

Wada hopes King is ready to learn and be comfortable with making mistakes as a beginner. "Just to be open to new things, to be willing to not get so down on herself when her game's not so good because she's a beginner. It's easy to really bash on yourself when you're a beginner," Wada said.

King, for her part, is looking forward to her experience this spring. "I hope to gain the knowledge of being on a team. This is the first time I've ever done anything like this, so it'll be nice to feel what it is to be on a team," King said.

With all the experience, Johnston told the Valley Record he is looking at working with his players on specific areas of their games, particularly stroke and course management.

One thing that concerns Johnston is the lack of freshmen in his group of nine golfers. He admits that golf at the youth level in the Valley is still a work in progress. "The kids' programs in the Valley haven't really taken hold yet, so there's kind of sporadic years, and this could be a year where there's kids that are involved in soccer and softball and those kinds of sports, and none of them have considered golf as an option," said the coach.

Johnston is hoping for great things from his team this season. "We should be a contender," he said.

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