Girls bowling preview story: North Thurston's Cortnie Brathovd is young, but bowls like a vet
5 BOWLERS TO WATCH
Ashley Aarts, sr., Black Hills
Alex Putzier, jr., Black Hills
Cortnie Brathovd, soph., North Thurston
Danielle Ewart, sr., Shelton
Brooke Collins, jr., Timberline
OUTLOOK: Perhaps no bowler has had a hotter starter to her season than North Thurston sophomore Cortnie Brathovd. After averaging at 159 as a freshman, she currently ranks second in the 3A Narrows with a 178 average through 14 games. Timberline broke through for a fifth place finish at the Class 3A/2A tournament after back-to-back sixth-place team finishes in 2010 and 11. Black Hills was right behind at sixth place. The Blazers have only lost one dual so far, and have four bowlers -- Bernadine Dale, Jamie Moss, Sydney Robertson and Brooke COllins, who are ranked in the top 10 individually in the 3A Narrows League. Timberlines new bowling home is Aztec Lanes. Shelton, back down from Class 4A, will be right back in the mix in 3A/2A. Since bowling became a WIAA-sanctioned sport in 2001, no South Sound team has had more success than the Highclimbers. Last years third-place finish at 4A was the programs fourth top-three finish, including the 3A/2A state title in 2007. Senior Danielle Ewart leads the 3A Narrows with a 182 average. Its no surprise Black Hills, led by Ashley Aarts and Alex Putzier, will again contend for the 2A Evergreen Conference title after going 11-1 last season. The EvCo is down to three teams -- Black Hills, River Ridge and Tumwater -- with the departure of North Thurston to Class 3A.
5 GYMNASTS TO WATCH
Hannah Armitage, sr., Capital
Kourtney Belarde, soph., Timberline
Josie Fitch, jr., Timberline
Keira Lathrop, soph., Capital
Brielle Rasmussen, sr., River Ridge
OUTLOOK: Capital, after winning the sub-district meet a year ago, is back in District 4, which is where coach Karen McQuiston started 17 years ago. A big challenge for the Cougars is they will only see one district team -- River Ridge -- until the postseason. McQuiston is expecting big things from Hannah Armitage and Keira Lathrop, who both competed at state last year in the all-around. The combined North Thurston/River Ridge/Timberline team, which splits off as single teams for postseason competition, is now in its sixth season under coach Shannon Brigham. Between the three teams, there are 26 gymnasts. Kourtney Belarde is the only returning gymnast who qualified for state last season when she was a state competitor in all four events (beam, vault, floor, bars) as a freshman. Brandi Embrey, a 2004 graduate of Olympia High School who was a collegiate gymnast at the University of Bridgeport (Conn.), is Olympias new gymnastics coach, replacing Sally Poe.