The Newport Knights girls golf team is proving itself to be one of the best teams on the links during the 2019 season.
The Knights, who have compiled an overall record of 4-1 in dual meets on the golf course, rely on valuable team chemistry on and off the course that translates into unbridled success. Newport head coach Jeff Kent wasn’t surprised to see his team win its first four matches of the season against Skyline, Inglemoor, North Creek and Bothell. The Knights suffered their first defeat on March 28 against the Eastlake Wolves on March 28.
“I think the success we’ve had is because of how our team has bonded together. There is just a sense of belonging and family. Our three seniors Paige Dolan, Celina Romero and Sarah Heo have done a really good job of making everyone feel like they are part of a family,” Kent explained.
Kent said underclassmen Emma Range (junior), Emily Chow (junior), Anne McDonald (sophomore) and freshman Izzy Young also are making a significant impact on the links this spring.
“Everyone is just having a lot of fun and is enjoying the journey. In golf, you have to be good at everything. You’ve got to drive it down the fairway and get it close to the green. Once there, you got to chip it up and then one or two putt. This team is working hard on all aspects of the game. That is how they’ve been successful,” Kent said.
Kent, who is in his first season leading the Knights girls golf program, prides himself on being a coach that not only focuses on the specifics of the game but also makes it quite enjoyable for members of his team.
“If the kids aren’t having fun, you are going to lose their attention right away. We have some days that are called Fun Fridays where we have (golf) contests against the coaches. If the team can’t beat the coach, they have to run,” Kent said with a chuckle. “I’m a strong believer in statistics. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. We (coaching staff) keep a lot of statistics on all of our golfers. The goal for our team this year is to have a score of a 200 in a match (low score wins in golf). We talked a lot about that being the equivalent of the four -minute mile. A lot of people thought that would be impossible to break 50 years ago (Roger Bannister accomplished the feat), but it happened. We are really focused on that.”
The Knights practice at one of the best golf facilities on the Eastside on a daily basis.
“The Golf Club at Newcastle has been really generous in allowing us to use the (driving) range and practice areas. It is just a beautiful facility to practice at,” Kent said.