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News / Sports / Prep Sports

River’s Chinn rises to occasion at 2A state bowling

Sophomore shoots 20 pins over average, places third

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: February 1, 2019, 9:47pm

UNIVERSITY PLACE — Coming into Friday’s Class 2A state girls bowling championship, Rileigh Chinn placed high expectations on herself.

She was determined to place in the top-5, and to do so, she figured she would need to bowl a 180 average — almost 20 pins above her seasonal pace.

For Chinn, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Columbia River sophomore bowled a 1,077 over six games at Narrows Plaza Bowl to finish third in the state, a year after competing at state as an alternate. Chinn was the lone Clark County entry at 2A.

“Looking at past scores, (180 average) is what it took to place in the top-five and I got that, so I’m pretty proud of that,” Chinn said.

But how exactly Chinn went from an alternate on a Columbia River team that finished second at state in 2017, to the team’s top bowler in less than a year is a testament to her work ethic, Chieftains coach Logan Burnett said.

Anticipating the departure of key seniors from last year’s team, she began watching videos of pro bowlers. She noticed the professionals didn’t throw the ball the way she did. So she changed from a backup ball to a regular ball, essentially retraining her wrist to spin the ball the other way.

Three months of practice over the summer in a Tuesday league Hazel Dell Lanes, she noticed a difference.

“I was able to throw harder and faster, which really helped hit more pins,” Chinn said.

It paid off. Her average jumped 24 pins to a 163 and she became the Chieftains’ top bowler throughout the season — and the only to compete at state (senior Mikayla Munger qualified, but was a late scratch).

For much of Friday afternoon, Chinn led a tight pack fighting for a top-five finish. After four games, Chinn held a seven-pin lead over Selah’s Asia Evans, and just 36 pins separated Chinn from sixth place.

Chinn bowled a 204 in the fifth game, her best of the day, but Mackenzie Theophilus of Black Hills posted a 258 (the second-highest single-game total of the day) to leapfrog Chinn for second place by two pins going into the final game.

Theophilus piled on with a 235 in the final game. Chinn had a 142 to hang onto third.

There were few doubts who would take the 2A state individual title. Mark Morris’ Brooklyn Boudreau rolled a 1,270 to win by 98 points and become the first bowler in state history to win three consecutive individual titles.

Chinn’s twin sister, Jenna, competed at state as a freshman, but did not qualify this year. She was there, along with their mother and father, to support her.

After Rileigh Chinn finished her last round, her sister offered a challenge.

“She just told me that she’s going to be coming for me next year,” Rileigh Chinn said.

In the 4A state tournament, Camas’ Kimmy Boone was the top place at 12th. Teammate Jace Grubbs was 13th.

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Columbian Staff Writer