When it was time for North Thurston girls bowling coach Bob Wienski to select captains for this year’s squad, one name immediately stood out – Cortnie Brathovd.
Wienski had never had a non-senior as a captain before, but it was an easy decision despite Brathovd being a sophomore.
“I didn’t think twice about it,” Wienski said. “She was the first person I thought of.”
Looking at Barthovd’s résumé, it’s easy to understand Wienski’s thinking.
Brathovd is coming off an outstanding freshman season where she earned first-team all-league honors in the 2A Evergreen Conference with an average of 159.9.
And she’s improved.
Brathovd has already increased her average this season by nearly 20 pins a game as her 178 average ranks second in the highly competitive 3A Narrows League.
She already has bowled a season-high 223 against South Kitsap in a non-league contest to go with 205 and 203 games against Stadium and Mount Tahoma, respectively.
“I’ve just been more consistent,” Brathovd said. “I’ve been able to better understand oil patterns and adjust to different situations.”
One aspect Brathovd won’t have to adjust to is getting comfortable with her surroundings as few high school athletes will enjoy a greater home-court advantage than Brathovd as the Rams play all their home matches at Olympia’s Aztec Lanes – which is owned by Brathovd’s father, Dan.
“My grandfather used to own (Aztec Lanes) then my father took it over in 2008,” said Brathovd, who began participating in the sport at the age of 6. “My dad says he basically grew up there. I’ve worked with him a lot, trying to get better.”
Brathovd is one of the few returning varsity players this season for North Thurston, which makes the jump from the 2A EvCo to the 3A Narrows this season.
“There’s a lot more competition in the Narrows League,” Brathovd said. “You’ll get pushed in this league.”
Wienski, however, anticipates Brathovd doing her share of pushing as well.
“We are in an extremely tough league,” Wienski said, “but I expect her to win the league championship and move on to the state tournament.
“After that, we will see how she does. At state, it’s all about who can keep their head down and stay focused. The ones who do well at state are the ones who can do that.”
Brathovd just missed advancing to state last year. She had originally planned to go and watch the state tournament, but that trip was quickly squashed.
“I would have had to skip school that day to go,” Brathovd said. “My parents didn’t want that.”
Should Brathovd keep bowling the way she has this season, she won’t need a permission slip to attend the state tournament – she’ll be there as a participant.