SPORTS: Sequim golfer seeks new challenges at Sonoma State University

SEQUIM — Zoei Zbaraschuk isn’t one to rest on her laurels.

Sequim High School’s standout golfer recently signed a letter of intent to play for Sonoma State University, which has one of the top college Division II golf programs in the country.

The senior, who has blown away area high school competition for the past four years, is heading to the Rohnert Park, Calif., school for the challenge.

“She doesn’t get challenged very much in the Olympic League,” Sequim girls golf coach Garrett Smithson said.

Zbaraschuk has won medalist honors in league competition 23 times in a row. And the runner-up usually is far behind.

Zbaraschuk will be the strong favorite in the Class 2A Olympic League championship tournament, which is set for Tuesday at the Wolves’ home course, Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course.

“Sonoma State is nationally ranked and Zoei’s numbers are pretty competitive with other members of the women’s golf team,” Smithson said.

Zbaraschuk had several other college offers where she would have been the top player in the program from day one.

“She didn’t want to be top dog right away,” Smithson said. “She wanted to be challenged.”

Right now Zbaraschuk averages 3-over on most golf courses.

“I work to be consistent,” she said. “I want to be shooting in the 70s for 18 holes.”

At Sonoma State Zbaraschuk will start out as No. 4 or 5 on the team as a freshman. Portland’s Concordia University, which also has a powerhouse women’s golf program, offered a spot on its team where she would start out as a No. 1 or 2.

“I have been No. 1,” she said. “I wanted to be at the bottom and work my way up, to get even better.”

On course every day

Smithson isn’t surprised that Zbaraschuk has dominated competition the past four years because of the time she puts on the course.

“That just shows you what you can get by putting in the time and effort,” he said.

Zbaraschuk spends about two to three hours a day on the course, Smithson said.

“And she plays in tournaments almost every weekend. Putting in the time and effort has paid off for her.”

Zbaraschuk normally plays in Northwest Junior Golf tournaments and she also has competed in American Junior Golf Association tourneys as well as others.

In her travels, the senior star has played on college campus golf courses, including Notre Dame and Monterey State.

“I’m getting a lot of exposure,” she said.

The most challenging course for Zbaraschuk in the Olympic League, as well for most of the other area prep golfers, is White Horse Golf Club in Kingston.

“It challenges you with the placement of the ball,” she said.

“It makes you think as you’re getting ready for the next shot.”

And one of the hardest courses on the North Olympic Peninsula? Fellow Sequim course SunLand Golf & Country Club.

“SunLand is so narrow that you have to work at keeping the ball in bounds,” Zbaraschuk said.

Sonoma State’s men’s team recently has won the national championship while the women’s squad is getting close.

“I hope to help them get the national championship within the next four years,” Zbaraschuk said.

She says she is looking forward to playing for the Seawolves.

“The program and the coaches are just awesome,” she said.

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Sports Editor Brad ­LaBrie can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at [email protected]

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