Timberline High School has been in this position before after the first day of the Class 3A/2A/1A state girls bowling championships.
A year ago, the Blazers trailed Mark Morris by 39 pins on the way to a state runner-up finish — their best in school history.
After Friday’s competition at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place — where Timberline led the team race much of the day before West Central District champion and Olympic League powerhouse Bremerton made a late surge — the Blazers are in second again.
This time with 5,130 pins, the deficit is larger — 88 pins. Bremerton leads with 5,218.
“I am feeling good with the girls,” Timberline co-coach John Wilson said. “They had 12 splits in one game, but they seemed to hang in there and just keep duking it out; keep going, keep rolling.”
Timberline roared out of the gates, scoring a 913 among five bowlers in its first game.
Slowly, the Knights — the 2008 state champions — closed the deficit. In the fifth game, they took the outright lead with a day-best 955, led by Megan Wittenberg’s 227.
And in the final game, No. 1 bowler Helaina Hilligoss rolled a 236 as Bremerton finished with a 907.
“All year, 900 (games) have been pretty common for us,” Bremerton coach Dean Wagner said. “Today we started with a 750, which is our lowest score of the year. ... We had a talk and said, ‘Now we have to go to work, and maybe this is where we need to be to wake up.’ And they did.”
Even with two new bowlers this season, the Blazers are close to last year’s pace of 5,132. Brooke Collins rolled a six-game 1,143 series, which was eighth-best of the day. Sydney Robertson had a 1,065 series, which was 14th.
“I am actually very surprised we have come as far as we have,” Collins said. “I’ve learned if you all stick together and motivate each other, you can definitely bring (the scores) up.”
It appears the Knights and Blazers will be in a two-team race for the state title. Bremerton has more firepower, but Timberline is as consistent as it comes.
“(An 88-pin lead) is nothing with 14 Baker games to go,” Wagner said. “Anything can happen. Would I like to be in first place after day one? You bet. But there is a lot of bowling left.”
STRIKES AND SPARES
North Thurston’s Cortnie Brathovd, last year’s 3A/2A/1A state runner-up, placed sixth in the individual competition Friday. Her six-game series was a 1,180, with a single-game high of 241. ... River Ridge’s Rachel Bittner (772) finished 49th overall. ... Yelm’s Crystal Ingram placed 38th in Class 4A with a 928 series.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442