Kerissa Andersen proved she is not a fluke.
But now, it is forcing the Evergreen High School senior to make a difficult decision.
When Andersen captured the 3A state bowling title as a sophomore in 2017, it was surprise to many, including Andersen.
“As a sophomore I just went in and said ‘I want to get top 5,’ ” Andersen said. “Top 5 would be the highest I could expect because as a freshman, I was 11th. So as a sophomore, I thought top 5 would be great, top 3 would be amazing. Winning it sophomore year, it was like, whoa, I have some shoes to fill now.”
Last year, Andersen finished a respectable seventh at state, although she felt she didn’t perform up to her standards. That served as an inspiration heading into her senior season.
“So then last year when I didn’t do my best, I was a little upset with myself,” she said. “I really wanted to come back this year and be ‘OK I need to prove that I’m not a one-time champ.’ That’s what I wanted to prove — that it wasn’t just luck.”
Andersen did that, and then some. Last month at Narrow Plaza Bowl in University Place, Andersen bowl a six-game series of 1,271 to win the 3A state title by a whopping 102 pins.
That performance led to Andersen earning the title of The Columbian’s All-Region girls bowler of the year for a second time.
With teammate Dakota O’Neil placing second, it capped an incredible four years of bowling at Evergreen for Andersen. The Plainsmen captured their third consecutive 3A state team title after placing second as a 4A team in Andersen’s freshman season.
“The thing I’m going to miss most about high school bowling is the girls on the team,” Andersen said. “They have become family to me.”
Andersen is big on family. She likes to spend time with her family at home, especially with her dad who introduced her to bowling 10 years ago.
“I always tell people I grew up in a bowling alley,” she said. “Watching my dad bowl, bowling just felt like something I should do. And once I started bowling, I just really, really loved it, and it just became my passion.”
Coming into her senior year, Andersen said her plan was to attend college locally, then join an adult league with her father to further hone her skills.
“I’d like to go pro,” she said. “That’s my dream. Obviously, it’s a big dream. But it’s also a doable dream. I just have work a lot harder.”
Andersen could also continue to develop her skills as a college bowler. She said two college coaches have reached out to her.
“Things are kind of changing,” she said. “I might go off to college now. I don’t know yet. I’m still kind of wishy-washy about it.”
The issue is the colleges interested in her are on the other side of the country, away from her family.
But the prospects of bowling at college excite her.
“I’m excited just to have schools that want me,” she said.
All-Region bowling team
Rileigh Chinn, Columbia River
Sophomore was a first-team all 2A GSHL selection, who placed fourth at district and third at state.
Kaylee Combs, Heritage
Combs was the 4A Greater St. Helens League bowler of the year, who placed sixth at district.
Anna Gatlin, Prairie
Sophomore was the 3A Greater St. Helens League bowler of the year who placed eighth at district.
Dakota O’Neil, Evergreen
Hurt much of the year, O’Neil came on late to finish second at 3A state, helping Evergreen to a state title.
Elissa St. Julian, Prairie
A first-team all-3A GSHL selection, the sophomore placed 13th at the 3A state tournament.
Kailee Wilcox, Evergreen
Freshman was a first-team all-3A GSHL selection, the 3A district champion and placed 14th at state.