TUKWILA — The rest of the Southwest Washington bowling community had a tough act to follow this week after Evergreen swept the Class 3A individual and team titles on Wednesday and Thursday.
Although no additional titles came home to Clark County at the conclusion of Saturday’s Class 4A and 1A/2A state championships at Bowlero in Tukwila, two more teams, Skyview and Columbia River, battled for second-place finishes and provided compelling moments down to the very last baker game.
Between Skyview and Curtis, the race for first place in the 4A competition changed hands four times during the 14 baker games.
The Storm held a four-pin lead going into the final baker after recording its highest pin score of the day, 220, on the 13th. Curtis responded with a 221 on the final baker, which put the Vikings over the top with a 7,264 pin total for the two days. Skyview’s final tally was 7,214.
In 1A/2A, River started Saturday in third place behind 2A District 4 foes W.F. West and R.A. Long. The Rapids picked off R.A. Long to move into second, then closed the gap on W.F. West highlighted by a 268 in the 10th baker.
River (7,504) ultimately came within 15 pins of state champion W.F. West (7,519).
“I don’t know about you, but I felt like today there was a lot more screaming, a lot more cheering, really just a great environment (and) atmosphere for all the excitement,” Columbia River coach Logan Burnett said. “We know that any of us can beat each other on any day. We put up a good fight.”
Skyview had the lead after Friday’s six-game individual series, but through four bakers Saturday, Curtis took the lead and maintained an advantage over the next eight games.
With energy waning among the Storm, coach Ron Henderson pulled Skyview bowlers aside prior to the 13th game.
What was said seemed to work as the Storm came out on fire with four straight strikes.
“I think the motivation from the girls helps, but the motivation from our coach really helped us,” Skyview senior Karley Coleman said. “Because he kind of knows more facts about the lane and the pins, so he can give us certain pointers. He knows all the stats.”
Kasey Pine, Avery Henderson, Coleman and Addy Case bowled four straight strikes to open the 13th baker, before Lauren Gaynor picked up a spare. Pine and Henderson each added another strike as the Storm cycled back to the top of the order.
By outscoring Curtis 220-203 in the 13th, Skyview reclaimed a four-pin advantage going into the decisive final baker.
“The split between us was so tight,” Gaynor said. “We do well under pressure. Our last two games were a lot better. … I think we get too comfortable when we’re not under pressure, so we tend to sink in our bakers. But definitely the last two games were fun.”
Coleman and Gaynor, Skyview’s two seniors, were part of a program run that saw Skyview win its first bowling state title in team history last year. The Storm were undefeated in head-to-head games this season, and also won the district championship.
While reflecting on their last four years, both seniors said last year’s addition of Henderson, who’s coached Gaynor and Coleman for many years, was significant for the team’s development.
“Ron took our team from number four, five in state to number one last year,” Gaynor said. “He definitely did that. That’s all him.”
“Not only did he change our pin count game, he made us a closer bond,” Coleman added. “We bowled with him when we were younger, so we already had that bond. He has such a lovable, funny personality. He can really bring everyone together.”
River’s second-place finish was its third in four seasons. Saturday’s end result was a tough pill to swallow for the Rapids and their senior class of six, but the near-comeback also illustrated how well this group has worked together as a team.
The Rapids gained 88 pins with their jaw-dropping 268 10th baker, then outscored W.F. West 177-159 in the 13th to get within 16 pins ahead of the final baker. W.F. West ultimately held on with a 178 in the 14th, while River finished with a 179.
“We fought hard,” Burnett said. “It’s tough because some of these kids have taken second now three times. We knew that we could make up the distance. The 268 game was huge. Just really proud of them. Six out of the seven are seniors and it’s going be hard to replace them. They’ve been amazing throughout four years.”
River’s coaching staff had some tough decisions to make in its baker game rotations.
Ultimately, all seven bowlers — Sadie Burrows, Addi Capson, Patience Fauvelle, Jamie Green, Pax Marino, Desiree Thirbert and Kylee Jo Wisinski — played a part in the team’s second-place finish. Marino, in particular, drew praise from coaches for her performance on Saturday.
“She came in today and she really helped the team out when we needed her,” Burnett said.
The legacy left behind by River’s senior class will be a substantial one. It includes three runner-up finishes at state, three individual state medals between Wisinski and Burrows, and a program record 2,359 score in a match against Ridgefield on Jan. 4.
“I’ve been coaching now for a while,” Burnett said, “and you can tell when you have a team that can do something at state. This team had that every single year.”
4A STATE TOURNAMENT
Saturday at Bowlero, Tukwila
Final team scores
1, Curtis 7264; 2, Skyview 7214; 3, Kamiakin 7111; 4, Wenatchee 6750; 5, Eastmont 6565; 6, South Kitsap 6535; 7, Emerald Ridge 6483; 8, Graham-Kapowsin 6420.
1A/2A STATE TOURNAMENT
Saturday at Bowlero, Tukwila
Final team scores
1, W.F. West 7519; 2, Columbia River 7504; 3, R.A. Long 7362; 4, Klahowya 7159; 5, Steilacoom 6300; 6, Franklin Pierce 6198; 7, Washington 5198; 8, Burlington-Edison 5480.