June 9, 2008 · Updated 7:21 PM
Both golf teams say theyve worked hard and are ready for a trip to State.
The Bainbridge girls golf team had great success last season, but theyre not ones to rest on their laurels.
Last season they won the Metro League regular season title, finished second to Holy Names at the Metro League tournament, placed third at the district tournament in May and qualified four golfers to the state tournament.
There, they took home a fourth place trophy, the highest finish for a girls golf team in school history.
This season, their goal is to qualify again as a team.
I think they all are planning on qualifying at the league tournament this year, head coach Steve Nielsen said. Theyve got this pact that theyre going to do that.
If the top three can pull the other two up then they can definitely do that.
Returning from last years team are senior co-captain Melanie Trygg, junior Ryan Nottingham and sophomore Anna Bourland.
All three qualified for state last season and are ready to head back.
Were really shaping up well for the season, Trygg said.
Also back for another season is sophomore Peyton Lunzer and junior Annalise Herr.
Their numbers are down from last season with the loss of standout Katie Saucier to the University of Washington and two other girls who moved on to other activities.
Nielsen said he thought more would turn out for the team and was sad to see the others go.
It was kind of a tearful (goodbye), he said. The girls had a good time last year and they had fun on the team, but they got pulled in another direction.
But hes happy with the five players who are on the team, noting that they still enjoy being together and enjoy playing a ton of golf.
We gotta keep everybody well, he said. (But) this group has played more summer golf than any other team Ive had. It was clear when they came in (for tryouts) and they were shooting in the low numbers.
Ive never had a group do that.
That relentless practice paid off when they beat Mt. Rainier 169-165 last Thursday at Wing Point.
Bourland led the way with 43 Stableford points, while Nottingham and Lunzer had 35 points, Trygg had 34 points and Herr had 22 points.
Stephanie Corey won the medal with an even 36, but Bourland wasnt far behind with a two-over 38.
Nielsen is impressed with Bourland and how much she works to improve her game.
She spends just a tremendous amount of time here (at Wing Point), he said. She loves golf.
If shes not out playing, shes on the putting green or back at the short game area. Shes got a great short game.
At the state tournament last year, Nielsen saw firsthand how Bourland impressed others with her poise under pressure.
We were following Annas group and one of the coaches turned to his player and said See how she chips and putts? You should be doing that.
I said, But Anna spends all of her free time on the course, and he turns to her and says See? Thats what Ive been telling you.
Nielsen also likes Tryggs consistent play and taking over for Saucier as the team captain.
Shes a great leader, he said. She really helped Katie last year and shes taken over and done a great job.
Shell be our leader all year no matter where she plays in the lineup.
Trygg said she knows replacing Katie is no small task.
I definitely looked up to her and I hope I can do the same for the girls, she said.
Nottingham, who is taking part in the Running Start program and attending Olympic College, has improved her driving power from last season.
Lunzer and Herr, who didnt finish the season but wanted to come back, have also worked to improve all facets of their game as well.
It showed when Lunzer shot a 46 last Thursday to beat her personal best by three strokes.
That round was the difference, Nielsen said.
Theyll face competition from Holy Names, who won the league tournament last year and have 12 players this season and Seattle Prep with Katrina Hegge leading the way.
But Nielsen feels theyve got a great shot to make it to state and show they can do it without arguably the best girls golfer in school history.
To them, Katie was bigger than life, but we dont want to step on Mels toes, he said. This is her team. We all miss Katie but shes moved on and thats good for her.
Trygg said they want nothing less than another trip to state.
We definitely want to make it back, she said. Thats our goal.
Back to form
On the other side, the boys golf team is looking for a return to the postseason as well.
With Jamie Neill, the last link to the great teams of the past gone to the University of Idaho, there are many new faces on the team.
But head coach Bob Dwyer said he doesnt see it as a rebuilding year.
Right now eight people are within ten shots of each other, he said. Were going to have a very close group. (Theyre) nice kids.
Ive seen them shoot very well and theyre very competitive, Dwyer continued. Theyre going to give anyone a battle.
Senior co-captain Peter Leslie agreed.
I felt last year was a rebuilding year, he said. Part of it was the lack of experience.
We have a lot of talent on our team. All of us are capable in going to state. We have guys that can play from one through eight.
Last season, Neill was the only one who made it through to the state tournament.
The Spartans finished tied for second at the Metro League tournament and sent five to the district tournament, but Leslie, Sean Leonard, Kyle Hurt and Jack Seidl all missed the cut.
Leslie felt they just had a bad day at districts.
Me, Sean and Jack, that was our first time at districts he said. It was (just) one of those days where nothing went right.
This year, along with Leonard, Leslie, Hurt and Seidl, they have several players in senior Will de van der Schueren, juniors Ross Olason, Andy Redmond and sophomores in Kyle Schnieder and freshmen in Kyle Leonard, Bobby Griffin and Carl Jonson that have the potential to play at top spot.
Dwyer said there are several more players on the JV team headed up by new coach Nicole Hebner that can make a move up to varsity as well.
Leonard, a senior and co-captain, said theyre eager to return to state.
Its motivation, he said. In a way, youre trying to live up to what they (the past teams) did.
They were my idols coming here and if we can do the same for the younger kids, that would be great.
The boys and girls play Seattle Prep at 3 p.m. next Friday at Meadowmeer.