Fierce and focused.
Those words best describe Redmond High golfer Adithi Anand, according to Mustang coach Maggie Miller.
As a freshman last year, Anand shot for the top of the 3A state standings, but fell four strokes short of champion and friend Brittany Kwon of Central Kitsap.
“I was definitely trying to win state last year. Coming in second last year was a bit hard,” said Anand, who was tied with Kwon after the first nine holes during the two-day, 36-hole event. “I’ve definitely improved a lot from last year. I think I can place well at state and districts (where she took first last year).”
Managing her mental game will be one of her top priorities along with improving her putting accuracy to notch more birdies, she said. She’s striking her irons close to the pin and starts the whole thing off by driving the ball 230-260 yards off the tee.
In a preseason nine-hole matchup against Kwon, Anand achieved the upper hand thus far with a 2-under 34 to Kwon’s 1-over 37 at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton. The togetherness factor is strong, as the girls golfed in the same tournaments last summer and have both verbally committed to compete at the University of Washington.
Miller said that Anand rose to the occasion against Kwon in the head-to-head meeting, which was fun to watch. Redmond was 3-2 overall at press time and Anand was medalist in all five matches.
Redmond graduated eight seniors from last year’s squad and Miller said the returners are leading the way and some newcomers are wedging their place into the program well.
“These girls are a fun and kind of silly group,” Miller said. “It’s really fun to see them kind of coming together from maybe different areas of the social group at school. They all just really mesh and click here and they’ve got this great game in common that they bond over.”
Team dinners are key and the road trip to play Central Kitsap gave the youngsters a chance to evaluate the varsity players in action. A trip to the Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine is on the docket for some more golf and connecting with each other.
Redmond’s other top golfers are Lily Kralyevich, Anna Jonson, Jordan McCannon and Maddie White, all of whom finished off their putts to discuss Mustang golf at their home course, Bear Creek Country Club in Woodinville, last week.
Kralyevich possesses a wicked driver and smashes the ball some 260 yards off the tee. She’d like to get her putts into shape from the longer range, she said.
In her first year on the team as a freshman, she added: “Oh, I love the team, all the girls, they’re super sweet and they’re very welcoming.” Although she plays in high-level tournaments when not with the Mustangs, she was nervous before her first 3A KingCo match, but the veterans calmed her down to get to business.
Junior Jonson said Redmond golf offers a fun atmosphere.
“I’ve learned that it’s not that intense playing matches against other people, except for our rivals Eastlake,” she said. “It’s really friendly and most of the time we make friends with them (opponents).”
She’s always striving to improve on all aspects of her game and would especially like to start shooting in the 40s more.
McCannon, a sophomore, has moved over to the golf course from the softball diamond this season.
“(The transition) was difficult because I played softball my whole life. My sister played golf, so I’m following in her footsteps. It’s been good,” said McCannon, noting that she was pleased to earn a varsity letter and has been notching some good putts and drives.
A mental game is crucial in both softball and golf, so McCannon’s got that on her side. There’s more in common with the two sports as well: “When I work with (professional JD Cline), he always tells me to practice a softball swing, to bring my hands over.”
For sophomore White, she’s enjoying lending advice to the newbies and getting to know them.
“Telling them to keep their head down helps them a lot with their swings, but then also (noting to one freshman), ‘It’s not as stressful as you think, just relax, everything’s gonna be fine.’ Just trying to play a calming role,” she said.
Coach Jordan Allyne’s squad consists of three freshmen, two sophomores and one junior, Meili Zhang, who is doing a solid job leading the team as captain.
Zhang and sophomore Anna Clayton are the team’s two returners who have been sharing their experience with newcomers Lauren Dawson, Ivy Haight and Farah Lindsey-Almadani, all freshman, and sophomore Annabelle Wiley. Haight is the team’s leading scorer followed by Zhang, and both have qualified for the league tournament.
“We have a great group of players each bringing something unique to the table,” Allyne said. “Our experienced players have been great at sharing their knowledge and takeaways from what it’s like first starting to play and how matches operate. Our new players bring great attitudes and open minds to learning this crazy wonderful sport.”