The Mount Si High School girls golf team got a taste of competition last week, competing in early-season jamborees.
Mount Si won on Thursday, March 27, in a four-team round robin at Mount Si Golf Course.
The Wildcats led on points, 240 to Interlake’s 265, Liberty’s 259 and Mercer Island’s 278.
Sophomore Caitlin Maralack tied with senior Tabitha Dorn for a score of 43 on the par-36 nine holes. Bianca Backman shot a 47, Kara Murray shot a 48, Ashley Miller shot 59 and Rachel Warnke shot for 71.
Maralack medaled easily at the girls’ first preseason jamboree on Tuesday, March 25, at Bellevue Municipal with Bellevue and Liberty.
Conditions on both days were wet.
“They’re all getting better, every one,” Mount Si girls golf coach Matt Campbell said of the squad. “They’re doing really well. Their scores are improving.”
The varsity team is young, with a number of ninth-grade girls who’ve never played before.
Campbell broke out the tournament rulebook for the girls on Wednesday.
Thick “as the King James version,” he joked, “there were a lot of rules to learn… the rules make it an equal and equitable playing field.”
On Thursday, “Four of them had to tee off in front of the first tee, in front of all the people,” Campbell said. “I’m trying to help them get through that…. fill their heads with positive thoughts. It’s one of those things you can only learn by experience.”
“For the team, we are all supportive of one another,” Maralack told the Record in an e-mail. “I try to remind (teammates) that the score they get can always be improved next time and that the score isn’t the most important thing… By the time you finish, you should be able to say you had fun on the course overall.”
Maralack says her attitude this season is positive: “I know that a bad shot doesn’t mean a bad score… There is always a way to make par or recover.”
Matt Campbell, new coach for the Mount Si girls golf team, and youth golfing go back decades.
A course pro for more than 25 years, he played all four years on the Mount Si boys team as a teen, then started a lot of junior golf programs in the Valley. He also served as the Junior Golf Chairman for the Pacific Northwest PGA.
Campbell, the former general manager at Mount Si Golf Course, now gives private lessons.
“It’s a breath of fresh air,” he said of his first foray into high school coaching.
Campbell gets to work with girls of different abilities, and he emphasizes accountability, health, fun and team bonding.
Some of the friendships he made on the Mount Si team have carried forward to today. His own team will do the same: “They’ll have relationships for the rest of their lives with these girls.”
“It’s not necessarily about golf, but making better people,” he said of his approach.
Mount Si senior Tabitha Dorn putts on the green March 27. She co-medaled with Wildcat sophomore Caitlin Maralack, below.
Caitlin Maralack gets a tip from coach Matt Campbell on the fourth green.
Kara Murray hits across the green, March 27.
Ashley Miller putts on the first hole at MSGC.
Bianca Backman drives on the start of hole four.
Caitlin Maralack swings on hole 5.
Rachel Warnke swings at the start of hole four at Mount Si.