In the most dramatic fashion possible, Kierra Wilcox joined Evergreen High School’s collection of individual state champions in girls bowling.
Wilcox finished the 3A state championship Wednesday with a six-game total of 1,140, one pin better than Emily Strehle of Kelso, to win Evergreen’s fourth individual state title in school history.
After bowling games of 234, 213 and 211, Wilcox held a 96-pin lead. Her lead shrank after games of 177 and 184.
After Strehle finished with a 194 in her final game, Wilcox only need a 121 to claim the state title. She bowled exactly 121. It was the second year in a row that Strehle finished as the state runner-up in 3A, after losing to Prairie’s Lilly Bash last season.
Wilcox didn’t know what score she needed to wrap up the state title. But she knew she was having a rough final game.
“I was really struggling with the line and the lane,” Wilcox said. “I couldn’t find anything. I actually broke down at one point in the game. I was crying.”
Wilcox said her teammates and several bowlers from other schools came over to offer hugs and help her regain her composure.
“I’m definitely going to remember the sportsmanship from today,” Wilcox said. “It really showed what makes bowling such a special sport.”
In the final frame, Wilcox rolled a 7-10 split. She picked up one pin on her final roll.
A minute later, she learned the final pin made the difference in winning the state title.
“I was shocked,” Wilcox said. “It really shows that every pin counts.”
With Evergreen’s Alexis Clarke finishing sixth with a 1,047, Evergreen leads in the team standings with a score of 4,911. Kennewick sits in second at 4,799, heading into Thursday morning’s baker games at Bowlero in Tukwila.
Evergreen had its streak four consecutive state team titles broken when Spanaway Lake took the 3A team title last year.
Wilcox, who finished 11th at last year’s state tournament, hopes her individual title inspires her teammates to claim another championship.
“I think it definitely has brought a lot of confidence to us,” Wilcox said. “We know we have the talent and strength to overcome the other teams. Coming into state we weren’t as confident was we could have been.”
Evergreen’s Kerissa Anderson won two state titles at 3A in 2017 and 2019, and Ashli Mortensen won a 4A individual title for Evergreen in 2009.
In all, Wilcox claimed the ninth individual state championship in girls bowling from Clark County.
3A STATE TOURNAMENT
At Bowlero, Tukwila
Top 5 team scores
(NOTE: Team title to be determined after Thursday’s baker games)
1, Evergreen 4911; 2, Kennewick 4799; 3, Spanaway Lake 4698; 4, Thomas Jefferson 4529; 5, Central Kitsap 4381.
Top 10 individuals
1, Kierra Wilcox (Evergreen) 234-213-211-177-184-121 — 1140
2, Emily Strehle (Kelso) 171-205-173-218-178-194 — 1139
3, Tamia Yeager (Spanaway Lake) 196-212-154-178-194 — 1128
4, Alaina Degenstein (Spanaway Lake) 149-217-153-156-192-219 — 1086
5, Kourtnie Foss (Kennewick) 163-182-199-149-182-202 — 1077
6, Alexis Clarke (Evergreen) 145-158-169-193-208-174 — 1047
7, Shaynah-Ann Suzuki (River Ridge) 160-211-120-183-199-168 — 1041
8, Alena McDugle (Thomas Jefferson) 147-167-157-144-247-167 — 1029
9, Lily Fields (Hermiston) 127-186-164-157-178-209 — 1021
10, Jasmine Emswiler (West Seattle) 158-167-168-157-180-179 1009
Other local results
11, Kasumi Hori (Prairie) 183-151-186-172-136-168 — 996.
17, Bella Curry (Evergreen) 137-207-179-158-133-137 — 951
18, Lindsay Walker (Kelso) 155-139-210-163-160-122 — 949
33, Zoey Mikkelson (Evergreen) 146-176-170-146-128-141 —907
45, Chloe Shove (Evergreen) 142-175-158-101-134-156 — 866