2017 Fall Sports Preview | That sinking feeling: Spartans seek to put and drive to fourth Metro title

Things looked bad right off.

The Bainbridge High School varsity girls golf team, who returned to the green recently in the wake of a stellar season that saw them nab their third Metro League title in seven years, didn’t exactly come out of the gate swinging.

Or, at least not as well as they usually swing.

The first day of tryouts began on a bit of a low note before anyone even teed off, returning Spartan Head Coach Ian Havill said, as it was the first year since he took over eight seasons ago that the team did not see more hopefuls than the year before.

Nineteen girls showed up to try out last year, and he was hoping for 20. He got 15.

Still, a strong 15 is better than a shaky 20, right?

That’s what Havill was thinking, too — until tryouts actually began.

“Then we played our first nine-hole tryout and it was the worst tryout we’ve ever had,” he said. “Terrible. And I was just like, ‘Well, OK. Still lots of time to get better.’”

Turns out, though, with typical Spartan spirit, the team only needed a little time. Very little, in fact.

“Since then we’ve been working at it pretty good and we’re actually just killing it,” Havill said. “We’re way ahead of schedule now.”

The coach said he wasn’t worried about that freaky first flop, especially in the light of all the progress that’s already happened since.

“Golf is like that,” he said. “You can go out there and just lay an egg on any given day.

“Our team is going to be very strong because we’re already looking good.”

With the Metro tourney slated for Oct. 19, the team has some time, and plenty of matches, to get back in the swing of things.

“We’ll be very, very prepared by the time that rolls around, and I’m already feeling good,” Havill said. “I’m pretty happy.”

The swift turnaround in quality of play may come from a new inter-team competitiveness, fostered by Havill’s fresh organization.

“I’m doing it a little different,” he said. “We’re having it kind of set up where there’s competition in the off-season.

“We kind of tested it out a little bit last season. I thought it worked out.”

How it works: of the 15 Spartans duffers, only seven are actually listed on the varsity squad (you need eight for a match). There are four strictly JV players, and four “swing players.”

Based on their recent stroke averages, Havill plans to bump one swing player up to the varsity squad for every match.

“You’re trying to get from JV into the swing status and you’re trying to stay on varsity,” he explained. “You don’t want to drop out of the varsity [roster] and go to the swing [team], but you could.”

Leading that semi-fluid varsity roster are co-captains and returning golfers, seniors Sara Colley and Maddie Loverich.

“This is their fourth year so they’re going to be solid,” Havill said. “They’re a known quantity.”

The coach said his captains are “on the ball” already, getting the team out and playing even on non-practice days and organizing team events too.

“You can’t cram for golf,” Havill said. “I can’t say enough good things about what they’ve done, both getting people out and being positive. They’ve done some fundraising on their own. We’re going to a Mariners game; they put that together. Team-bonding stuff.

“It’s going to be super fun,” he added. “They’re a very friendly group and they work well together.”

The varsity squad’s other returning players include three stalwart Spartan point machines, names familiar to island golf fans: junior Lucy Hanacek and sophomores Caitlin Slattery and Kendall Havill.

“They did really well last year,” the coach said.

The team also boasts two particularly impressive newcomers: freshman Anna Kozlosky, a multi-sport athlete making a name for herself in golf this year, and sophomore Madison Culp, who the coach called “a big surprise.”

“She’s lighting it up,” he said. “That was unexpected. She’s scoring right there in the top few.”

Things are looking good for a Spartan run at the Metro title, despite the shaky start.

Or, actually, maybe because of it.

Last year, Havill recalled, he was not impressed with the team’s initial performance. The squad was in a slight slump after winning two consecutive Metro tourneys in Havill’s first two years in charge. He thought they’d have a fine season, sure, but wasn’t putting down any mental bets on league placement, let alone taking home the title.

But it happened.

Now, with the Spartans slated to face off against Chief Sealth in their first match of the year at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7 at Wing Point Golf &Country Club, hopeful Bainbridge fans will be looking to see if it will again.

Will history repeat itself this season? Will the Spartans rise from their worst-ever tryouts to a fourth Metro title? Is it time for the rest of the league to watch out for Bainbridge?

“We’re putting up some really good scores in these practice rounds and people are motivated,” Havill said.

“I think it’s always, ‘Watch out for Bainbridge.’”

More in Sports

Contributed photo
                                Virgil and his wife, DiAnn, who were together for 63 years and married for nearly 58.
N. Kitsap coaching legend dies at age 80

He was a longtime fixture at high school baseball, football games

Bainbridge running back Alex Ledbetter tries to break away from the pile during the Spartans’ 2018 opener against North Kitsap. (File photo)
A look back at some great Week 1 local prep gridiron games

Under normal circumstances, tonight fans would have gathered at high school stadiums… Continue reading

“Strong Like Her” features American powerlifter Megan Gallagher on the cover.
Kitsap native Haley Shapley features strong women in “Strong Like Her”

Says it’s OK to have muscles if you’re female

Cross country was one of the few remaining sports that had a chance to compete this fall until the decision was made to move all fall sports to spring. (Review File Photo)
PREPS: Fall seasons officially pushed to spring 2021

Cross country, boys tennis join girls swim and dive in season 3

Island resident Greg Nance pulls up to the end of Point Monroe Drive near Fay Bainbridge Park during his endurance run around Bainbridge. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
With community encouragement, Greg Nance completes his run around Bainbridge Island

For the rare few among us who enjoy putting ourselves through the… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Pete Saloutos
                                Greg Nance, a 2007 Bainbridge High School graduate, will run the island’s entire shoreline on Aug. 18 to raise awareness for mental health issues.
BHS grad Greg Nance to run island shoreline for mental health and addiction support

On the surface, just about anyone would be envious of Greg Nance.… Continue reading

Krulish: Release the Kraken

What’s in a name? When it comes to professional sports teams, not… Continue reading

Girls swimming will be moved to season 3 in the spring after the WIAA received further guidance from the Department of Health (Review file photo)
Moving fall sports to spring provides a glimmer of hope for coaches and athletes

There’s nothing quite like combining the crisp, damp Autumn air of the… Continue reading

Nathan Adrian joined the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable in July for a talk on swimming in the Olympics, battling cancer, and growing up in Kitsap. (Kitsap Athletic Roundtable video screengrab)
The Bainbridge football team, shown here celebrating their 2019 Agate Cup win over North Kitsap, will have to wait until March of 2021 to get a chance to defend the cup. (Review file photo)
WIAA to move most fall sports to March 2021

Friday night lights won’t be returning in 2020 for high school sports… Continue reading

WIAA delays start of football season to Sept. 5

The WIAA Executive Board voted this month to delay the start of… Continue reading

Seattle to Portland bike ride goes virtual

Although the Northwest cycling season was effectively stopped short after February’s Chilly… Continue reading