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Where are they now? 1971 Reynolds girls golf

THE OUTLOOK: PARKER LEE - Members of the 1971 team met for a reunion last weekend at Gresham Golf Course - from left, Jill Mickeleit-Barnett, Katherine Young-Robyn, coach Mike Galloway, Joyce Bush-Allen and Paula Nelson-Rice.

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1971 Reynolds girls golf team

To say the first girls golf team in Reynolds High history was inexperienced when it started out in 1969 would be more than generous.

“We didn’t know what we were doing,” former Raider golfer Joyce Bush-Allen said. “I didn’t even own clubs. When we were driving to our first match, our coach (Michael Galloway) had to explain the rules to us.”

Bush-Allen and her novice Raider teammates lost their first two matches, but steadily improved. By the time they were seniors in 1971, they went 13-0 in the regular season. During that undefeated regular season, Reynolds went 53-1 in individual matches.

“I’m the one that lost one,” Bush-Allen said. “My opponent accused me of dragging two putts. She talked to her coach who talked to my coach and they decided to add two strokes to my score which let the other girl win the match.”

The Raiders went on to finish second in that year’s state tournament at Glendoveer Golf Course.

A few of the players played golf in college with Kathy Young-Robyn going on to play on the LPGA tour. Life took them to different places throughout the country and they lost touch to some degree.

Decades passed and they were never able to reunite. Then last year, Sue Lafky, one of the Raiders on the squad, died. Her passing sparked something and made the surviving Raiders realize enough time had passed.

“We have not gotten together since we graduated from high school,” Bush-Allen said. “When we lost Sue, we decided it was time to make this reunion happen. We knew we needed to have a reunion as a memorial to her.”

After 45 years, that reunion finally happened on Saturday at the Gresham Golf Course. The former Raiders and Coach Galloway met up for breakfast wearing matching white Reynolds Golf Polo-style shirts. Then they stepped outside.

The clouds broke briefly to let the sun peak through for a few minutes as they scanned the immaculate course. They laughed at how much their old home course - which they affectionately referred to as the “goat ranch” — had changed. They joked that they never remembered it being so green and quipped that finishing a round ankle-deep in sludge and mud was routine back in their high school days.

When afternoon rolled around at the course, the lady Raiders pulled out their clubs and got to playing. After 45 years, the experience was very different. They knew the rules this time. The clubs they used were slightly more advanced than the used set Bush-Allen used in high school which she got from a garbage man neighbor who found them on his route. And though the course was a bit damp thanks to a drizzly weekend, they didn’t have to fear losing their shoes to quicksand-like mud.

Though the nuts and bolts of the experience were different, the thoughts and feelings were the same as they once were in many ways. Their sense of camaraderie hadn’t faded with time, nor had their competitive spirits. When they were back out there together, they were Raiders again. A four-and-a-half-decade hiatus couldn’t change that.