Ballard High School opened its doors in 1968. In its first year, three boys’ athletic teams began (football, basketball, and fencing) and two girls’ athletic teams began (basketball and field hockey). How was field hockey on that short list? A small group of students met with Pat Crawford, Ballard’s principal at the time, to request the formation of a field hockey team and Sue Fetter agreed to coach. Since girls’ sports were not recognized by the State or the Jefferson County School System, the squad of 14 players raised uniform money on their own. They only won one game, yet kept hopes high.
The 1970s were building years with steadily improving skills. At that time, parochial and private schools dominated Jefferson County field hockey. Only three Jefferson County Schools competed: Ballard, Atherton, and Waggener. The decade of the 70s brought several changes to women’s sports. Louisville teams were grouped into A and B divisions with the experienced teams playing in Division A. Ballard consistently recorded winning seasons in the A division. As a result of a Title IX lawsuit, field hockey and other girls’ sports began to receive recognition.
In the 1980s, two leagues were formed: county and private. The leagues played each other, increasing the number of games per season. At that time, the County began participating in the Apple Tournament, which became the traditional season opener. In 1985, Ballard finished second in the first State Tournament behind Collegiate.
In 1992, the Varsity team returned to the final four, losing to State Champs, Assumption. The Varsity again entered the final four in 1993 by beating Assumption in double overtime, but then lost to Collegiate in overtime. In 1994, the Bruins returned again, losing a heartbreaker to Assumption in overtime, 7-7, strokes. Ballard made it to the final four in 1995, losing 2-1 to Collegiate in overtime. In 1997, the Bruins placed second in the Apple Tournament. In 1983, 85, 87, 89, 91, 92, 94, 96, 98, and 2000, Ballard’s Varsity captured the Public School Regular Season Championship, and in 2000 and 2001, they won the JCPS Pre-Season Tournament.
In 2000, Ballard made it once again to the final four, losing to Collegiate, the eventual State Champs, 2-1. In 2001, Ballard began hosting the Freshman Stick Tournament. In 2005, the varsity team was the state runner up losing in the State Championship final game on turf at the University of Louisville to Assumption. Head Coach Kelly Lewis was named Coach of the Year. At the conclusion of its 37th season in 2006, Ballard had compiled 438 wins, 251 losses, and 70 ties. In 2011, new head field hockey coach Lindsey Trager began and in 2012, the team hosted a successful pancake breakfast fundraiser at Drake’s in St. Matthews. The biggest development in 2014 was that field hockey became a sanctioned sport in the state of Kentucky. In 2016, new head field hockey coach and Ballard alumnae Shelby Daeschner joined the effort.
All of these accomplishments have taken place from the persistent effort and many home games played on the same field where Bruins play today. In the beginning, the playing surface was an open, mowed field, no lights it the field for evening play, no Hutt served the numerous fans, no lawn maintenance kept the field green and event, and no flag flew proudly by the field. These improvements and many more have occurred since those early days of Ballard Field Hockey, thanks in large part to the Booster Club’s dreams, hours of service, and many parent volunteer hours. Here’s a timeline of that progress, including a shout out to the Hutt namesake Danny Hutt and the complex namesake Charles Musson.