Follow the bouncing ball.
Just like everywhere else, local high school sports were thrown a curve in 2021 due to COVID-19.
There were no sports at all to start the year, but then the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association announced all three seasons would be played with shortened versions in the spring, but there would be no state playoffs or competitions.
Bainbridge High School decided to return to the Olympic League to compete because of travel costs and ease of scheduling compared with the Metro League in Seattle. They liked it so much they decided to stay in the league this school year.
The season got underway in mid-February with cross country. For the girls, BHS ended up third in the Olympic League.
Football kicked off late that month. The Vikings trounced the Spartans early in the season, but BHS ended the season with a romp over South Kitsap.
In girls soccer, BHS beat NK on penalty kicks in overtime.
As the Spartans played their last football game, BHS’s baseball team began its season with a 20-0 rout over Kingston. Bainbridge boasted four pitchers who were going on to throw for Division 1 schools. They ended up winning the league title with one of those pitchers, junior JR Ritchie, throwing a no-hitter and striking out 18 in the title game against Central Kitsap. Ritchie ended up the league’s most valuable player.
The Bainbridge boys shut out North Kitsap in soccer early in their season then beat the Vikings again a few weeks later. They ended up going undefeated on the season, beating Sequim for the title.
NK beat Bainbridge in softball, as Viking pitcher Makayla Stockman struck out 16. BHS came back to actually win the league championship in a surprise.
The Bainbridge track team had some strong performances. Allie Wildsmith was the league champ in the high jump, while North Kitsap’s Alyssa Cullen broke league records in the 100- and 200-meter sprints. The NK boys won the league title.
The BHS girls also won the league golf crown.
Ironically, this season ended the year with the BHS boys basketball getting off to a fast start with a rout over Olympic. They followed that up by hitting fourteen 3’s against Central Kitsap in another win.
North Kitsap’s Jonas La Tour scored 24 points to lead the Vikings past BHS 62-54. At the end of the season the same result happened, but in overtime, as NK advanced to the league title game. The Spartans finished third.
In girls basketball, BHS placed fifth in the league tourney to end the year.
La Tour, Johny Olmsted, also of NK, and Andrew West of BHS made the all-tourney first team, with Spartans Cliff Hennessey and Jacob Kirsch on the second team, along with Viking Cade Orness. For the girls, Mia McNair of NK and Kingston’s Ellee Brockman made the first team with Buc Kylee Walker and Spartan Anna Kozlosky on the second squad.
In wrestling, Garrett Swanson and Caroline Michaels of BHS made the all-league team for the Spartans. Sofian Hammou made it for the Vikings, along with Kingston’s Christa Sindel and Cori Everhart.
An NK team also won the league doubles title in tennis, and Bainbridge easily won the boys title in swimming.
The BHS boys and girls water polo teams swept a doubleheader over South Kitsap, and Sydney Johnson and Avery Gray led the Spartan gymnastics team.
Things are back to normal more this school year, with the Fall and Winter Seasons actually taking place during those seasons.
However to start the year the public was not allowed at BHS home football games due to COVID concerns. The Spartans started the season with a loss to Garfield. With freshman Jack Grant taking over at quarterback BHS beat Sequim 48-10 in football. North Kitsap, which ended up tied for third in state, blanked Port Angeles 56-0 behind all-league quarterback Colton Bower, a three-time league MVP.
After winning district, the girls BHS swim team won the state title, as did the water polo team. BI girls cross country wins the Olympic League title.
In girls soccer, Avery Pujolar scored three goals in a win over Bremerton. At the end of the season they stayed atop the league with 1-0 win over Sequim.
NK beat BHS to share top spot in league volleyball. Those two squads, along with Kingston, advanced to post-season play.
BHS sent boys and girls cross country to state for the first time. BHS doubles and singles will go state, which is in the spring, in boys tennis.
Seven from BHS made all-league in football, while Kingston had two. League champion NK grabbed 15 spots on the teams. In volleyball, Allie Wildsmith of BHS was named MVP for the Olympic League, while five others also made all-league. Four from NK also were honored, along with two from Kingston.
To start the season, BHS romped past CK, but then lost badly to North Kitsap in boys basketball. The Spartan girls also lost to NK, but on a buzzer-beater. The Viking boys were sailing along at 7-0, but then lost two close games around Christmas by a total of three points.
The BHS gymnastics team started the season with a win over Port Angeles. Wrestling teams struggled to get matches in due to COVID concerns. Over Christmas break, local teams did not do that well heading into the second half of the season.