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Bainbridge’s green team looks to stay competitive | FALL SPORTS PREVIEW

The Spartans girls golf team is, in front, Julie Ischer, Mary Boyton, Annnika Van Houte and DD Madigan; and in back, Tara Wilford, Sarah Dalessi, Alexa Ardia, Izzy Saez, Sophie Wikstrom, Claire Lunzer and Grace Nelson. - Photo courtesy of Ian Havill
The Spartans girls golf team is, in front, Julie Ischer, Mary Boyton, Annnika Van Houte and DD Madigan; and in back, Tara Wilford, Sarah Dalessi, Alexa Ardia, Izzy Saez, Sophie Wikstrom, Claire Lunzer and Grace Nelson.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Ian Havill

The Bainbridge girls golf team has lost a bit of its veteran star power, but Spartans Coach Ian Havill has been impressed with the young crop of competitors who have turned out for this year’s team.

Five players on the roster — nearly half of the 11-member team — are sophomores or freshmen.

“We’ve got a pretty young team,” Havill said. “We have a pretty wide range. We have some good players and we have some brand-new players; freshmen who have never held a golf club.”

Lost to graduation, however, are Julia Gross, Jasmine Shattuck and Maddy Devlin. All three had played for the Spartans at state. They were also instrumental in Bainbridge’s perfect Metro League record over the past two years, where the Spartans went undefeated in every match.

“This year, we have some good players, but nobody that has had that level of success yet,” Havill said. “These guys have big shoes to fill.”

Even so, Havill recalled how Gross — now playing for Carroll College — recently came out to help some of the younger Spartans with their game.

“She said that she was about as good as some of these freshmen when she first started,” Havill recalled.

The team will be led by three seniors; Alexa Ardia, Annika Van Houte and Tara Wilford.

Havill said he’s also looking for some of the younger players to step up.

“Instead of having Julia Gross and Jasmine [Shattuck] shooting a low number, and a couple good numbers, it’s going to be more like five or six - more of a steady team contribution,” he said.

“DD Madigan is a sophomore who started and played in every match last year as a freshman. She’ll have a good season; she has some experience under her belt,” Havill added.

“Playing out here is one thing. But when you get under tournament conditions, the nerves can get to you. And if you’ve had some practice at that, that sure helps,” he said.

Havill noted the courage of those on the team who are new to the sport, but eager to learn, improve and compete.

“It’s not the easiest sport, coming out here and being in front of a bunch of people and trying to hit that little ball around. I have a lot of respect for anybody that’s willing to put themselves in that spot,” he said.

Despite the relative youth of the team, Havill said the team has high expectations.

“We want to win the Metro. We want to just play our best and have a good attitude, regardless of where the ball goes.

That’s kind of the main thing,” he said.

The Spartans will play most of their matches on the familiar but fast greens at Wing Point Golf Course.

One of the toughest tests will come against Holy Names Academy. The Spartans will face the Cougars at home on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Holy Names may be in for a bit of surprise, however.

“I think we’re the team to beat,” Havill said.

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