If the Timberline High School girls bowl like they did during last week’s district tournament – winning the Blazers’ first district title – they will need to check another box on their headed-to-state T-shirts.
Already checked off are boxes representing a league championship, a district crown and a fourth consecutive berth in the state tournament. Is a state championship next? Quite possibly, because the Blazers are rolling their best games at the right time.
“It’s nice to come out strong when it counts,” Timberline coach John Wilson said.
Bernadine Dale, Sydney Robertson, Brooke Collins, Jamie Moss and Katherine Stanton comprise Timberline’s squad, which is one of the 3A/2A favorites going into the state tournament, Friday and Saturday at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place.
The Blazers’ lofty status is in stark contrast to their bowling team’s origins.
It wasn’t long ago when Wilson, the program’s only coach since girls bowling was made a WIAA-sanctioned sport in 2001, was recruiting the Timberline
hallways trying to coax students to turn out. During the early years, the Blazers struggled. But over the past five years, they’ve seen a steady climb of success – including a fifth-place finish at state in 2012.
Wilson said this is his most talented team in his 12 years, but he stressed that a key to its success is the bowlers’ commitment to each other.
“They’re so supportive of one another,” Wilson said. “They will not let each other down. If you make a bad shot, there’s no bad words. It’s all about encouragement.”
One of the encouraging signs for Wilson was the addition of Dale, a senior, who attends Northwest Christian High School. Because that school does not offer bowling, she’s allowed to compete for the school closest in the district where she lives. Dale had the team’s highest regular-season average (167).
Depth, however, has carried the Blazers. Close behind Dale were Robertson (162), Collins (162) and Moss (160), followed by Stanton (151). The Blazers’ top four bowlers all ranked in the top 10 individually in the 3A Narrows League this season, and the team earned the league championship with 14-2 record while averaging 158.
The Timberline coach said Bremerton, which led the Blazers for most of the day at the district tournament before Timberline’s late surge, poses a threat at state, along with Wilson High School, Olympic and two teams from Southwest Washington – Prairie and Mark Morris.
Wilson, the Timberline coach, said he has confidence his team can pull out a top-three or better finish.
“I would be really happy with that,” Wilson said.
high schools: GIRLS state BOWLING TOURNAMENT
State bowling tournament
When: Friday (10 a.m., regular games), Saturday (8 a.m., Baker games)
Where: Narrows Plaza Bowl, University Place
Admission: Single day for adults, $9; seniors, students, $7; Two-day pass for adults, $15; seniors, students, $10.
Timberline: Bernadine Dale, Sydney Robertson, Brooke Collins, Jamie Moss, Katherine Stanton
Black Hills: Ashley Aarts
North Thurston: Cortnie Brathovd, Sarah Pagel
Shelton: Lindsey Cox
What to watch for: Is this Timberline’s year to break through and bring home a state trophy? The Blazers’ highest finish has been fifth, but the team is one of the favorites going in after winning last weekend’s 3A/2A District 3 tournament in Tacoma. Dale, with a 167 regular-season average, was one of four Timberline bowlers to have a top-10 average in the 3A Narrows League. … North Thurston’s Brathovd had the area’s highest season average, 184 in 32 games. … Aarts, who had the 2A Evergreen Conference’s third-highest season average (161.7), earned her second state berth after rolling a 635 in three games at the 3A/2A District 4 tournament at Tumwater Lanes, including a 265 in her first game. … This will be the final event for Shelton coach Curt Snyder, who is retiring. He has been the Highclimbers’ coach since 2003.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick email@example.com