Getting to the Division I Girls Golf State Tournament is nothing new to the Raines sisters.
In fact, it’s starting to become the norm.
Kara, the oldest, qualified as a junior at Olentangy several years back. Now she’s playing at Youngstown State.
Leila, a freshman at Michigan State, was the first athlete from Olentangy Berlin to qualify for a state tournament when she made the cut in 2018 (her second appearance in the showcase) and now, thanks to a 73 at last week’s district tournament at New Albany Links, Mia will get her shot.
The Olentangy Berlin freshman knows she’ll be the one taking the swings when the tourney kicks off Friday morning at The Ohio State University’s Gray Course — just her against 18 holes — but she won’t be alone. She’ll have a few helpful hints from her sisters to lean on along the way.
“It’s nice to be able to get advice from my sisters since they have both qualified as individuals and played in the state tournament,” she said. “Kara told me to stay calm and keep a clear head and to just enjoy my first experience at State. Leila also really wants me to just go out and enjoy the two days and not put too much pressure on myself.”
Sounds simple enough. After all, despite the pressure-packed moments synonymous with the state tournament, Mia said just qualifying was the hardest part.
“Getting through districts was the hard part,” she said. “There’s a lot of talent here in Central Ohio and I’m just glad I was able to qualify in one of the two individual spots … especially as a freshman.
“My goal will be to stay loose and take it one shot and one hole at a time. I hope to be able to stay in the moment and put any bad shots behind me. That’s really the toughest thing about golf. I hope I can go post a good score both days and be near the top of the leaderboard. But, either way, I’m really happy with my freshman season.”
Mia has a good idea of what to expect despite being a first-timer, but said she’s ready for anything. This year, after all, hasn’t exactly been typical.
“I think it’s good that I have been to the state tournament before to watch my sisters,” she said. “I have at least seen the atmosphere and course layout. I think it will feel different this year, though, since there will be very few spectators allowed due to Covid. When my sisters played, their teammates and my aunt, uncle and cousins all came out to cheer them on. I think my experience may feel a little different.”