That seems to be the central theme among both the South Kitsap boys and girls golf teams this season.
Dustin Booth, who shares coaching duties with Sean Duttry for the boys team after serving as a volunteer assistant the last five years, thinks his squad could have three postseason contenders. It starts with senior Vince Bachteler.
“I definitely feel like I’ve improved,” Bachteler said. “I think my short game and around the green has improved exponentially.”
The latter could be significant as Booth said the squad “collectively” can work on that aspect of their games. Bachteler knows he will be challenged throughout the season by freshman Lucas Knowles, whose father, Mark, is the head PGA professional at Gold Mountain, and senior Cody Myhr.
“They’re pushing me,” he said. “That’s good for the team.”
Booth also expects the remaining three varsity positions to be competitive.
“I think what stands out about them is they’re resilient,” he said. “The weather has been terrible and we’ve been out there — sideways rain and all.
On the girls side, senior captain Marissa Casanova returns.
“Marissa has had successful seasons,” girls coach Mandy Wood said. “She’s just waiting for that good performance that will push her into state qualification.”
Casanova began last year as the No. 1 golfer for a team that finished with a 6-4 record, but has been unseated by sophomore Sarah Kopta, who missed a Class 4A state-playoff alternate berth by one stroke last spring.
“Sarah had a phenomenal season as a ninth-grader last season,” Wood said. “We’re expecting big things from her this year.”
Similar to the boys team, Wood said she likes her squad’s depth. She said a pair of seniors, Natalie Feeney and Kylie Wong, “definitely have improved their games.” But even those two will be challenged to claim positions after Kopta and Casanova.
“I really liked our squad last year, but we didn’t have much past the varsity,” Wood said. “The next two years we’ll have a core of solid players.”