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Undefeated in league just par for the course for Kentwood girls golf
By Alexandra Bolton
Kentwood girls golf has done it again.
After finishing a sixth consecutive season undefeated in the South Puget Sound League North, the team went on to win the league tournament Oct. 17. The Kentwood girls have won the league tournament five of the past six years.
Head coach Cheryl Havener denies that she might be responsible for the success of Kentwood girls golf in her seven years with the program.
“I think I’ve just been lucky with getting girls that love golf and practice on their own besides normal practices,” Havener said. “They just love the sport and are dedicated to it.”
This year’s team included freshman Katelann Soth, juniors Macey Mackey, Monica Wisdom, and Rachel Weros, and seniors Caitlin Rumer and Stephanie Cogswell.
Co-captain Rumer described how golf seems to involve a lot less pressure than other team sports.
“For me, when I go out to golf, it’s like I’m going to hang out with my friends and I’m having fun,” Rumer said. “I can still focus at the same time, but it’s 100 percent enjoyment for me. That’s the only reason why I do it.”
Weros elaborated on the social nature of the game.
“In every other sport the other team is your enemy for that day, but for golf you actually get to be friends with them,” Weros said.
There’s competition as well as a common appreciation for a game loved and played well.
“You want to do better, but you want them to do well,” Havener said.
“It’s mostly about trying to beat yourself, your own score,” said co-captain Cogswell.
“Golf is a lot easier to measure personally. You can set a specific score or parts that make up that score,” Wisdom said. “For most of the other sports, it’s more objective. You don’t know exactly if you made the goal or not. For golf you know. You got the 42.”
Still, it was the team score that won the league tournament, a feat requiring the best performance of all six varsity members.
Kentridge, always a tough competitor, was 10 strokes away in second place.
Soth, who finished second, Cogswell took third while Weros, and Rumer finished in eighth and 11th place respective, will all go on to the state tournament in May. Wisdom, 32nd at leagues, awaits a playoff in the spring to earn one of the remaining spots.
Though regular team practice is also suspended until spring, the girls will not let their victory at the league tournament lull them to complacency. They will continue to practice in the off season, often with teammates, taking advantage of the winter as an opportunity to improve and come back stronger for state. The Meridian Valley Country Club, Kentwood’s home green during season, makes this continuity and camaraderie especially easy. Two of the girls, Weros and Rumer, are recipients of six available scholarships in the Junior Golf Program at the club, while other girls enjoy the benefits of family memberships or pay to play at Meridian Valley outside of the high school season.
This year round play is key, as Soth can testify. Coming into a team of upperclassmen, though intimidating, proved no obstacle to her success in league play.
“She was a very nice surprise,” said Havener of Soth. “The difference is that she has been playing WJGA, and she has gone to other tournaments. So, when she came in she was an experienced player where all the other freshmen are beginners.”
While the freshmen may be beginners, they are not without potential, Havener said. Their work in the off season will be just as important in determining the future success of Kentwood girl’s golf.
“Last year was our strongest team ever, and they took second,” Havener said. “This team isn’t quite as good, but I still think they will place. They give out four trophies at state. We won’t say which one, but I think we’ll get one of them.”
The girls are even more optimistic.
“Losing a lot of our really good players last year, we probably weren’t even supposed to win districts (league), but we did,” Wisdom said. “I think it’s quite possible that the amazing will happen at state.”