All-Region girls bowling: Faley not about to strike out

Battle Ground bowler reached her goal with an individual state title

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter



All-Region girls bowling team

Bowler of the year

Wylicia Faley, sr., Battle Ground

Faley captured her second Class 4A individual state title in three years, helping Battle Ground win its third consecutive state title. Faley also was the 4A GSHL player of the year.

Rest of All-Region team

SHELBY CHARTRAND, FR., CAMAS: Placed eighth at 4A state tournament (187 average).

MADISON CROCKETT, SR., SKYVIEW: Class 4A state runner-up (212 average); 4A district champion.

LAURYN HEYING, JR., FORT VANCOUVER: Placed 10th at 3A state tournament (184 average).

ALEX LANNING, SR., MOUNTAIN VIEW: Placed fifth at 3A state tournament (201 average).

ADRIANNE SCHOCK, JR., BATTLE GROUND: Placed fifth at 4A state tournament (203 average).

DAKOTA VARELA, SR., HUDSON’S BAY: Placed third at 3A state tournament (208 average).

Talk about a slump-buster.

Wylicia Faley was in a funk with her bowling skills. In a rut for a bit.

But on Feb. 1, competing in one of her bowling leagues, she notched the first perfect game of her life. Twelve strikes in a row. 300.

A few days later, representing the Battle Ground Tigers at the Class 4A state bowling championship, she nearly got another one.

Just missed. But near perfect was more than good enough for her second state championship in three years.

Faley, a senior, set the scoring record of 1,397 pins in six games to claim the individual title and also helped the Tigers win their third consecutive team title. For this, she is The Columbian's All-Region bowler of the year.

In her second of six games on the first day at state, Faley connected on nine strikes in a row before the perfect bid ended.

A month later, she recalled the game.

Striking in the first three frames: "That's normal. I'm used to it," said Faley, who averages around a 200.

Striking in frames 4 through 6: "I've scored 279 before. I've scored in the 260s. I'm used to the pressure of having six in a row. Pressure doesn't come until the seventh or eighth frame."

OK, then.

Strikes in frames 7 through 9: "I just tried to not think about it at all. Just go up and throw the ball. I must have done that because it worked."

There are a few minutes between each frame in bowling, waiting for other players to complete their turns. That leaves plenty of time to think about what could happen.

"When there is a possibility of a 300 game, the whole crowd gathers around the person," Faley said. "I was hoping that wouldn't happen. I don't like all that attention, but at the same time I do like all that attention."

Sure enough, there was a gathering when she picked up her ball. Faley said she knew something was not right, but she just did not follow her training.

"I knew I had to set the ball down and step off the approach and take a deep breath," she said. "But I didn't."

As soon as she released the ball, there was no chance. Or, little chance.

"I dropped my head, and I hoped maybe a miracle would happen," Faley said.

Didn't happen. But she did accomplish her goal. She had taken the lead and kept it throughout the day for her championship.

Faley is looking forward to college bowling at Midland University in Nebraska after high school graduation. The 4.0 student wants to study chemistry and then go to medical school.

Bowling, she said, will always be a part of her life, even after college.

"It's my life. It's my passion. It's the only sport that I'm good at."

She is almost perfect at the game.