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News / Sports / Prep Sports

All-Region girls bowling: Lily Mattison, R.A. Long

Lily Mattison leaves with individual and team state titles

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: March 20, 2024, 6:05am

Lily Mattison is a state champion, and she could not have done that without Ava Rodman.

“I got involved in bowling because my best friend, Ava Rodman, texted me and said ‘Come out for bowling with me because I don’t want to do it by myself,’ ” Mattison recalled.

That was Mattison’s sophomore year at R.A. Long High School.

“I thought it was kind of absurd,” Mattison said. “I had never bowled in my life before. And I was really good friends with her, and I didn’t know she bowled.”

But Mattison wasn’t doing anything during the winter sports seasons, so she decided to give it a try.

“And when I got a taste that this was something I could be good at, then I just wanted to be good at it,” she said.

That year, Mattison helped R.A. Long advance to the state tournament. In her junior year, she was a second-team all-league pick.

Then on Jan. 31 at Bowlero in Tukwila, Mattison became the 2A/1A state champion, bowling a six-game series of 1,106 pins that included closing games of 220, 217 and 226.

And for that, Mattison is The Columbian’s All-Region girls bowler of the year.

And the way she got there was improbable.

Mattison opened her six-game series at state with a 110, far below her season average. It was the kind of score that state champions don’t bowl.

In fact, no other bowler who finished in the top 10 at state bowled a game lower than 139. No bowler in the top 20 bowled a game lower than 120.

“My first thought was at least go out and help my team,” she said. “So I kind of shook it off. I didn’t think too much of it because I’m kind of super inconsistent. I’ll have a really low game every now and then … So I had to brush it off. And then I found my mark and it just kind of came together toward the end.”

After Game 4, Mattison was in seventh place. After Game 5, she was in fourth.

After finishing Game 6, Mattison was in first place and only one bowler still competing had a chance to catch her — her teammate and best friend, Ava Rodman.

Rodman needed to pick up a spare in the 10th frame to beat Mattison, and Mattison was rooting for Rodman to do just that.

But Rodman was unable to pick up a split, leaving Mattison as the champion with very mixed feelings.

“It was actually probably one of the most emotional experiences of my life,” Mattison said. “(Rodman) has been so dedicated to the sport, and I knew this was her goal since joining the sport. So it just felt like so surreal that me, of all people, would win that, because I hadn’t dedicated as much time into the sport and was kind of rushed into it.”

But Rodman would end her high school bowling career as a state champion after all. The next day, R.A. Long captured the team state championship, running away with the title by outdistancing second-place Fort Vancouver by more than 400 pins.

“I love that I wasn’t the only one at the top,” Mattison said. “It was really great to have all my team by my side, especially winning the team championship together. It’s such a great experience to achieve something so great, especially with the people that you love.”

Before they were teammates in bowling, Mattison and Rodman were teammates in softball. R.A. Long has a strong softball/bowling connection with several players and coaches involved in both sports.

Mattison will continue her softball career in college after signing with Lower Columbia College.

But she will always be thankful for the invitation she received from Rodman to give bowling a try.

“I just loved the chemistry between my team and all the girls and the coaches,” she said. “I loved our matches and just how positive we all were to each other. It’s such a good atmosphere to be a part of. It just makes it so enjoyable and so fun.”

Rest of the All-Region girls bowling team

Addysen Case, Skyview: Case was the 4A GSHL player of the year, district champion and placed sixth at state with a 1,085 series.

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Bella Curry, Evergreen: Curry was the 3A Greater St. Helens League co-player of the year and 3A district tournament champion.

Bella Hewes, Prairie: Hewes was the 3A GSHL co-player of the year and placed fifth at 3A state tournament with a 1,110 series.

Lacey McHan, Fort Vancouver: McHan was first-team all-2A GSHL, placed eighth at district and fifth at state with 1023 series.

Lilly Peschka, Fort Vancouver: Peschka was first-team all-2A Greater St. Helens League, placed sixth at the state tournament with 1,020 series.

Ava Rodman, R.A. Long: Rodman was the 2A Greater St. Helens League player of the year and the 2A state runner-up with a 1,104 series.

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