UNIVERSITY PLACE — Her name is Rose Ugbinada, and when the pressure mounted Friday at the 2A/1A state bowling championship, the Fort Vancouver senior rose to the occasion.
Ugbinada was in third place of the individual standings through three of four games, trailing first-place Piper Chalmers of W.F. West by 63 pins and Ridgefield’s Ada Johnson by 16.
In the last game of her high school bowling career, Ugbinada put on a show.
The senior came out with three strikes in a row, then after picking up a spare in the fourth frame, broke off five more strikes on the way to bowling a 257 pin score.
As it turned out, Chalmers simultaneously bowled a 256 on the other side of Narrows Plaza Bowl to clinch the individual state title with 900 pins across four games. Ugbinada, however, moved up to second place with 838, marking the best finish of her three state appearances dating back to 2019.
“It feels like I did (for) myself what I wanted to do,” Ugbinada said. “Freshman year, my goal was to keep improving. It didn’t really matter where I ended up, just as long as I improved from the year before, and that’s what I did. … No matter where I ended up, I just wanted to improve myself.”
After rolling a 163 in the third game, the lowest of Ugbinada’s three games, her focus was on making up for those pins left out there. Admittedly, she said she was “pushing down” on herself and battling negative thoughts at first.
“But then I was like, that’s what makes you crumble, so stay positive and push through,” she said.
As Ugbinada knocked down one strike after another, the cheers from the crowd behind her grew louder with each roll.
For longtime Fort Vancouver coach Julie Pagel, it was the exact kind of finish she’s become accustomed to from her star senior.
“I’ve coached a lot of years and a lot of different sports, and she’s one of the top three or four kids as far as competitiveness,” Pagel said. “She loves to win. She loves to challenge.
“We had one match where the oil machine broke down. Everybody was about 80-100 pins below their average, that’s how bad it was. Her first game she rolled 130, and after the game she said to me, ‘I love games like this because you really have to think and you really have to try different things.’ The next game she got a 223 … She just embraces the challenge.”
After the game, she found her dad, Daniel Ugbinada, and shared a long hug.
“It didn’t actually hit me it was my last game until I went up to my dad and I was like, ‘Oh, this is it,’ ” Ugbinada said.
Although Ugbinada’s career at Fort Vancouver has wrapped up, she’s not done with bowling yet. She’s been accepted to Alabama A&M and University of Alabama, Birmingham, as well as their bowling programs. Now, she’s in the process of deciding which school to attend.
“I’m excited for her to get better coaching in college, because she’s done this mainly on her own,” Pagel said. “A ton of hard work, super supportive family. Just a great kid.”
The strength of Southwest Washington bowling was reflected throughout the individual leaderboard. Columbia River’s Kylee Jo Wisinski (769) and Ridgefield’s Johnson (751) also finished in the top five, while R.A. Long had a pair of top-10 finishes in Ava Rodman (746) and Katie Lender-Aberle (711).
River takes second in team standings
The road to the 2A/1A state team title has gone through District 4 for several years running.
Last week, that recent history seemed to bode well for Columbia River when the Rapids finished first at the district championship, beating out fellow state qualifiers W.F. West, R.A. Long and Black Hills.
As a reminder of just how tough the district is, fourth-place Black Hills was the team to beat just a week later, as the Wolves came away with the state team title Friday ahead of River in second place and W.F. West in third.
Just 47 pins separated the three teams entering the 10 baker games. The margin tightened up even more once River opened with pin scores of 175 and 172, drawing within five of Black Hills while the two teams bowled in neighboring lanes.
From there, no one was catching the Wolves. Black Hills rolled 196 and 210 in its next two, before adding a 202 in the sixth baker.
The Rapids were briefly tied with W.F. West for second place following the sixth, but the Rapids outscored W.F. West in three of the next four, including the 10th baker (199), marking the team’s best of the day.
River has now finished second place at state in each of its last three appearances, 2022, 2020 and 2018.
The future looks even brighter. The Rapids are set to return their whole team next season, with six juniors, Wisinski, Sadie Burrows, Jamie Green, Hailey Gress, Addison Capson, Patience Fauvelle and sophomore Pax Marino.
2A/1A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
At NARROWS PLAZA BOWL
Team scores — 1, Black Hills 5126; 2, Columbia River 5060; 3, W.F. West 4985; 4, Klahowya 4695.
Top individuals — 1, Piper Chalmers, W.F. West (204-258-182-256) 900; 2, Rose Ugbinada, Fort Vancouver (193-225-163-257) 838; 4, Kylee Jo Wisinski, Columbia River (177-173-179-240) 769; 5, Ada Johnson, Ridgefield (256-163-178-154) 751; 6, Ava Rodman, R.A. Long (199-206-175-166) 746; 9, Katie Lender-Aberle, R.A. Long (200-178-152-181) 711.
COLUMBIA RIVER — Kylee Jo Wisinski 769, Pax Marino (156-171-187-182) 696, Sadie Burrows (132-185-173-164) 654, Jamie Green (146-173-152-179) 650, Addison Capson (179-164-168-117) 628.
R.A. LONG — Ava Rodman 746, Katie Lender-Aberle 711, Jade Walters (169-156-133) 460, Lillie Glenn (144-163-147) 454, Natalie Bargen (168-133-94) 395, Lilly Mattison 136.
FORT VANCOUVER — Rose Ugbinada 838, Lia Harris (168-158-204-153) 683.
RIDGEFIELD — Ada Johnson 751, Avaa Shibley (147-117-151-156) 571.
HUDSON’S BAY — Brandi Schmit (154-139-121-146) 560, Arianna Schoonover (111-142-137-152) 542.
MARK MORRIS — Brooklynn Dillinger (155-174-170-152) 651.