It was a mixed-bag of a year, 2018.
On a macro level, things were obviously turbulent. Even as the economy chugged healthily along, politically and culturally speaking it was a rough road at times. Entertainment-wise, though, we wanted for nothing, and here locally, in a micro sense, things were generally pretty great. Only a few major crimes demanded space in these pages, and Bainbridge Islanders excelled in a diverse slew of pursuits — perhaps none more consistently remarkably than in the world of athletics.
In the pool, on the links, under the stadium lights and even on the high seas, islanders swam, shot, scored and sailed their way to a number of victories in 2018.
Here are our five favorites:
1Boys swimming & diving team score repeat state title (February)
Members of the Bainbridge High boys swimming & diving team again hoisted the Washington State 3A Swim & Dive Championship trophy over their heads after the Spartans won their second-in-a-row state title in February at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
Mercer Island was poised to take the team title, as MI had been winning in total points with just two races left in the state championships. But after four Spartan swimmers placed in the finals for the 100-yard breastroke (Kevin Houseman, first; Aidan Wagner, fifth; Maxwell Eyrich, sixth; Carter Hall, seventh) — Bainbridge moved in front of Mercer Island by 17 points, 357-340 with one race left to swim.
The final race of the meet — the 400-yard freestyle relay — pitted the Spartans’ first-place finishers from Friday’s preliminaries against Mercer Island, the second-place winners in the preliminaries.
Mercer Island took an early lead in the race, but the Spartans rallied and won convincingly. The Spartan foursome shattered the record set last year (3:05.57) when Bainbridge won the 400 free title, and the relay team of Makai Ingalls, Andrew Witty, William Waite and Jude Wenker set a new meet record and a new state record of 3:05.29.
It was also nearly a full second faster than the mark needed for an All-American time (3:06.28).
2 Spartans win historic 10th state title in girls lacrosse (May)
They’ve now won the most titles of any team, ever, in state girls lacrosse history.
The Bainbridge high varsity girls lacrosse team won their 10th state title in May, against Mercer Island, in the Spartans’ 20th trip to the championship game, and the first state championship in girls lacrosse since the 2012 team beat Lake Sammamish.
Mackenzie Chapman shared game MVP honors with fellow Spartan Kendall Havill, who led all scorers in the title contest with four goals.
3 Team Sail Like A Girl wins Race to Alaska (June)
Team Sail Like A Girl, an eight-woman crew, won the Race to Alaska in June after a floating log that “felt like a car crash” nearly derailed a 750-mile weeklong odyssey, Capt. Jeanne Assael Goussev said.
Sponsored by First Federal, Sail Like a Girl’s Melges 32, a 9½-foot-wide, wide-monohull racing sailboat, completed the fourth annual event from Port Townsend to Victoria to Ketchikan in 6 days, 13 hours, 17 minutes.
The first all-women crew to win the race arrived under bicycle power — two bike stations dangled off the stern that powered propellers — for a competition with the cornerstone motto, “No motor, no support, all the way to Alaska.”
Forty-three teams vied for a $10,000 first-place prize — and a second-place prize of eight steak knives in a monogrammed box.
The event was organized by the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.
The crew’s trek, aboard a day-sailing racing sailboat designed to fit six to eight people, was accomplished ahead of the four-man crew of second-place finisher Team Lagopus of North Vancouver, B.C., which finished in 6 days, 15 hours and four minutes.
Lagopus’ sail was in sight of Goussev and her teammates until darkness fell a few hours before Sail Like A Girl pulled into Thomas Basin.
Goussev’s crew, whose average age she said is about 41, also consists of Aimee Fulwell, Allison Dvaladze, Kelly Adamson Danielson and Haley King Lhamon, all of Bainbridge Island; and Anna Stevens, Kate Hearsey McKay and Morgana Buell, all of Seattle.
4Spartans snag fourth Metro title, repeat girls golf glory (October)
For the fourth time in nine years the Bainbridge High School girls varsity golf team returned home with the Metro League title this season, claiming the top spot at the recent 2018 Metro Girls Golf Championship tournament at Jackson Park Golf Course in Seattle.
It was, in fact, the second time in the last three years they snagged the title, and proved a perfectly appropriate cap to their undefeated regular season.
BHS finished with a team score of 720, just five shots better than Holy Names Academy (second place out of nine teams) and six shots better than Lakeside (third).
Spartan co-captain Kendall Havill was the team’s top points earner, finishing in sixth place overall (167 points).
Spartan freshman phenomenon Grace Frei finished eighth (173), ending a strong debut season on the varsity squad. Senior co-captain Lucy Hanacek finished ninth (175) in this, her final trip to the tourney.
Anna Kozlosky finished in 23rd place (205 points), and freshman Hayden Jobes finished 39th (233).
Catherine Rolfes and Makena Miller, who actually finished in 28th place, both also played, though only the other five scores counted toward the team’s final score.
5Belkin leads Spartans to fourth place in XC league, nabs second Metro title (October)
Bainbridge High School senior cross country star Sebastian Belkin won the Metro League Championship for the second straight year in October, and led the boys team to a fourth-place finish at the title meet.
They finished behind Lakeside, Bishop Blanchet and Ballard.
The island team’s 125 total points (the scores of the top five runners) actually tied Ballard for third place, BHS Assistant Coach Paul Benton said, but the Spartan’s sixth-place runner was edged out at the finish line by the Beavers’ sixth, so they settled for fourth.
The top nine teams advanced to the SeaKing District 2 Championship later that same month.
In the Metro meet, Belkin reportedly cruised through the tough Woodland Park course in 15:53, having dropped second-place challenger, Lakeside’s Sanjay Ramen (16:05) somewhere in the second mile.
Sophomore Sean Westerhout was the overall second-place Spartan, matching his personal record (16:56) as he passed more than 30 runners on the midcourse hills.
The rest of the team (seniors Nathan McVay, Elliott Windrope, Carlo Ruggiero, Carter Hall, Sean Lindsey) ran conservative times, Benton said, going into the meet not quite fully rested from their training.
However, multiple personal records were set in the two open races by the boys — one for freshmen/sophomores, another for juniors/seniors — including new marks by veterans Ethan Glasby, Alec Stauffer, Tobin Blair, Garrett Swanson and Thomas Eckhardt, as well as by first-year harriers Eli Sellers, Josiah McDaniel and Max Strom.
The girls varsity team (Eva Entress, Natalie Taylor, Eleanor Collins, Josie Meier, Cassidy Parr, Kari Perry and Liz Messinger) finished one place away from qualifying for Districts.
Entress (21:03) paced Taylor, who was recovering from an early season injury, to a season’s best 21:09. Collins also ran her season’s best race (21:44).
Those three advanced as individuals to Districts, Benton said, while senior captain Josie Meier finished just one place away.