After a nearly year-long wait, Bellevue College sports have overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and officially kicked off the Spring quarter.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Spring without baseball, and Bellevue is out for vengeance. Their 2020 season was cut short after a dominant 8-4 start (including 8-2 in their last 10 games). 18 members have returned in 2021 with a handful of freshmen and have started the new season 2-2 over a four-game series with Everett, outscoring them 32-18 in that period.
It’s sophomores Austin McMinds and Pierce Leavengood who have led the Bulldogs’ offensive efforts, both hitting over .400 in the early contest while at the top of the team in at-bats. Leavengood has also racked up a team-high five walks and boasts a whopping .611 on-base percentage. Sophomores Fred Buckson and Riley Parker are joined by freshman Harrison Clark in the RBI race, with four a piece despite Clark only having played in two games so far. On the other side of the baseball, Jacob Dahlstrom scored a team-high seven strikeouts in his lone appearance, throwing four innings of one-run baseball in a 17-3 contest on April 11.
Interestingly enough, the Bellevue softball team has also begun the season 2-2, splitting a two-game series with Everett to start the season and then splitting the next two-game series with Skagit Valley on April 7. There are currently no recorded statistics for their four games, but they have been outscored 39-23, allowing both 12 and 19 runs in their two losses.
The Bellevue College men’s golf team has taken first in both contests so far. On March 15 in the 2021 Spring Shootout, all six members of the BC team finished in the top 12 of the 27 individuals present. Ryan Knox and Dallon Bennett led the competition, both finishing with a score of 73 or one shot over par. The second contest, held at Olympic College on April 6-7, was far closer. Bellevue still took home the win but the individual standings were actually led by Skagit Valley’s Carson Linville. The 2-4 spots were all Bellevue, with Austin Duffy, Bennett and Jaeger Christian taking each respective spot. Knox, the first seed for the school, finished three shots over par.
Women’s golf finished with similar pedigree over their first two events. Of the 16 people at March’s Spring Shootout, BC’s four representatives finished in the top five, only broken up by SW Oregon’s Sarah Gray. BC’s Sarah Lawrence took home the first spot with a score of 83. Their Olympic Invitational also had Lawrence on top with a score of 148, with Tori Berger right behind her in the second spot at 158. Skagit Valley finishing with the third, fourth, sixth and seventh spots was not enough to dethrone Bellevue as the overall winner.
The men’s soccer team is off to a 0-1-1 start, tying Highline 4-4 and losing 5-0 to Tacoma. Leandro Anaya had two goals in their opening contest, followed by Lucas De Araujo and Thomas Nguyen. De Araujo led the team with two assists as well. However, the offense could not pressure Tacoma whatsoever, managing zero shots on goal and only forcing opposing goalie Jim Beam to make two saves. The women’s team has only completed one game thus far, a 3-1 victory over Highline. They rattled off 14 shots, with Hannah Woten, Fatumata Dukureh and Allie Peterson each succeeding once. Highline also took 15 shots, but all but one were stopped at the last line of defense. Goalies Celia La Guardia and Jaelynn Ramsay each had seven saves in the contest.
In addition to all of these sports up and running (with the tennis teams not having played but will also start up soon), basketball and volleyball had also been delayed to spring and are starting up again. Women’s basketball rebounded from an Opening Day loss to win their next two and sit pretty at 2-1 in the standings. Sophomore Mo Bungay stands out not only amongst the team but amongst the conference as a whole. Her 23.7 points per game is not only a double digit lead over Adyson Clabby’s second-highest total at 12, but is second most in the Northwest Athletic Conference, behind Yakima Valley’s Callie Delp.
Meanwhile, the volleyball team is off to a scorching start, winning their first three games, giving up just one set in total. Morgan Joseph and Arianna Bilby are head and shoulders above the rest in points, having 35 of the roster’s 73 kills between the two of them. Malia Honrud heads up the assist category with 54 of BC’s 69, and Kate Hansen leads in digs with 42 of their 129.
Also off to the races early is the men’s basketball team, sitting pretty at 3-1 with the lone loss being a five-point nailbiter to Skagit Valley. O’Landa Baker heads up the offense, scoring 19 points per outing. Isaiah Dunn leads the team in rebounds per game at 7.5 and Ben Olesen has a team-high five assists per game. It’s also notable that Bellevue led not only the conference but the entire NWAC in three-pointers made per game at 11.8, a statistic led by freshman Maui Sze who admitted that the pandemic hiatus took a mental toll.
Not having played basketball in Sze’s senior high school year, he was forced to wait yet another several months to finally play a game again. With the gyms shut down, it was hard for him to find a place to workout and get repetitions in. Not knowing what he would look like on the court struck his confidence. However, he praised Coach Donald Brady, saying, “I think the main reason we’re off to such a good start is because of Coach Brady and the preparation that has been put in before the season ever started.”