Lake Braddock High last week announced the retirement of girls basketball coach Melissa Trowbridge, who had coached the team for 15 seasons.

Trowbridge said she notified the school of her decision in late summer, but the school's athletic director, Barry Huitema, released a statement Friday that said Trowbridge's retirement was effective immediately. Huitema was unavailable to comment.

"I've coached girls high school basketball for 17 years and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience," Trowbridge said. "I wanted to step away with good, positive memories. Basketball has always been a positive thing for me, and I wanted to keep that feeling."

During her tenure, the Bruins compiled a 228-118 record and won the 1989 Virginia AAA championship. Last season, Lake Braddock (21-6) advanced to the semifinals of the Northern Region tournament before losing to Robinson.

"I thought this was a good time for the program to be in transition," Trowbridge said. "What I'll miss most is bringing those players together in November and trying to develop a team. It was always fun come tournament time to see how far the team had come."

Trowbridge, who will stay at the school as a physical education teacher, also said she "wanted the opportunity to have some more [free] time."

Trowbridge played high school basketball at West Springfield, and collegiately at James Madison. She was hired by West Springfield in 1982, her first year out of college, and moved to Lake Braddock in 1984.

"She gets the most out of her players," said Linda Jones, the girls basketball coach at South Lakes. "I hate to see her retire. From the way she talks and handles her athletes to her bench decorum, she's such a classy coach. She was a calm, cool coach and that was really effective for her players."

For the future, Trowbridge said she is "moving on to different things and different challenges," but did not elaborate what those would be.

"Who knows?" she said. "At this point, I haven't even thought that far ahead."

St. Andrew's Switch

The St. Andrew's girls soccer team will no longer dominate the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference after this season.

After a two-year petition process, the school has been accepted to join the Independent School League and will begin play in the A Conference in the fall of 2000.

"It represents our school's commitment of creating a higher level of interscholastic opportunities for our student-athletes," St. Andrew's Coach Glenn Whitman said.

The Lions have not lost a conference game since 1985. They have won four consecutive PVAC league titles and three straight tournament titles.

This weekend, St. Andrew's got a taste of its future competition when it defeated Bullis, 1-0, on a goal by sophomore Carolyn Ford in the final of the Francisco Hope Kick-Off Classic. It was the second consecutive season the Lions defeated Bullis for the tournament title.

"We feel we can compete for the [ISL A] title right away," Whitman said. "It'll be a challenge every game to do our best, and that challenge has been missing in the PVAC. My hope is by having the opportunity to compete against the better ISL competition, we will attract better student-athletes who in the past have gone elsewhere."