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Lakewood girls golf claims conference title
MARYSVILLE — The Lakewood High School girls golf team captured their first Cascade Conference Championship, May 9, when they won the league tournament by besting last year’s champions King’s by one stroke and scoring enough points to jump from third place in the league standings to first place.
“This is the first year that our conference did a season-long points standing,” said Lakewood High School girls golf head coach Chris Walster. “So part of our league championship was determined throughout the season by how teams finished in their three-way matches.”
Walster said that his team did well early in the season where they were one of the top teams, but in the last three matches they had fallen into third place heading into the league tournament.
“Our league tournament was structured so that the points received for team finish and individual player finishes were doubled,” said Walster. “We went into our league tournament on Monday in third place and by virtue of winning the league tournament we were able to leapfrog over two other schools and end up in first place.”
Leading the team was senior Kayley Mizell who finished second in the league tournament and second in the league standings for the season. Mizell’s record-setting score of 90 is the best league championship score ever for a Lakewood golfer.
“Our No. 1 golfer is senior Kayley Mizell. She is by far our best golfer and holds a lot of our records,” said Walster who pointed out that Kayley’s older sister Peyton had previously held many of those records. “She also qualified for state last year, our first-ever to qualify as a junior. And if all goes well, she will be our first player to ever qualify for state twice.”
The other senior on the six-girl team is co-captain Jessica Spears. “Jessica has been our No. 2 player for most of the year and has played really well this season,” said Walster.
The team also has two juniors, Kaylee Diggs and Chelsea Blackwood, as well as two sophomores, Hannah Eneix and Nina Forsell.
“Hannah Eneix is a homeschool student who came to us this year,” said Walster. “She’s in her first year of competitive golf and doing well so she’s been a great surprise for us.”
Walster said that Hannah’s older brother Keith was on Lakewood’s original golf team and in 1999 was the first Lakewood player to go to state where he finished in fourth.
“And Nina Forsell is probably one of our most improved golfers,” said Walster. “She played on varsity as a freshman but has really come on this year and is just really steady.”
Walster credits the consistent play of all the team members for much of the season’s success.
“They’re all pretty equal, said Walster. “When we finished the first nine holes at the league tournament I checked the scoreboard. We had Kayley Mizell out there with the leaders and had shot a 43, but then our next five players were all within two strokes of each other. We had two 50s, two 51s and a 52. In terms of a team, they we all steady.”
The team played in the Districts Tournament May 16-17 (after press deadlines).
“After Monday, May 16, the top 40 move on to play on Tuesday,” said Walster. “And out of that 40, you have to be in the top 19 to make it to the State Tournament in Tacoma.”
Moving on will be a challenge as Walster said, “Sadly, at our District Tournament we have Burlington-Edison and Bellingham who have alternated back and forth winning the state championship for the past six years. So if you can manage to get through our qualify tournament, you’re looking pretty good at the State Tournament because you’ve faced the toughest teams in the state already.”
Walster said he expect Mizell to move on to state. “Kayley would be disappointed if she didn’t make it back to the tournament, and I have no reason to believe she’ll falter. But it would be great to manage to get two players to the tournament because in golf you have to have at least two players to be eligible for a trophy.”