By AARON MANAGHAN
The Olympic League’s top three bowling programs showed once more what they’ve proved throughout the season.
Once more, Bremerton, Olympic and Klahowya finished atop the Olympic League in the girls bowling standings. And once again, the trio finished in that order Tuesday at the Olympic League Tournament at All Star Lanes & Casino.
Bremerton defended its Olympic League tourney crown a week after locking up the league title and a district berth, securing the No. 1 seed out of the Olympic League to the 3A/2A West Central District III Girls Bowling Championships, which begin at 9 a.m. today at Bowlero Lanes in Lakewood.
Bremerton tallied 3,277 total pins to top Olympic, which racked up 3,034. Klahowya was right behind in third with 2,930. The top three teams advanced to districts, as well as the top six competitors from the schools that didn’t advance: Peninsula (2,473), North Mason (2,231) and Sequim (2,181).
Olympic coach Dave Colby was very pleased with the end results.
“They’re doing extremely well,” Colby said. “I’m proud of every one of them.”
Bremerton and Olympic bowled next to each other during the tournament, setting up another round of the rivalry that’s gone on for at least three seasons now. In the very first game, Bremerton topped Oly 856-825 after trailing the Trojans through four frames. The third game also was tight, as Oly came out on top by a single point, 805-804.
“It was nice to be with Oly all day today,” Bremerton coach Dean Wagner said, as the teams lined up in neighboring lanes. “That kept my girls on top of their game.”
With both Jessica Sutton and Liza Ambrose, the team’s top two average leaders, nursing nagging injuries, Colby told his team that someone needed to step up. Alma Levario did her part to answer that call with a high game of 204 in route to a 181 average, third for the tournament and Oly’s highest. Howell rolled a 201 to finish with a 162 average.
“It’s like I told the girls at the very beginning, especially with Alaina,” Colby said. “Her first game was kind of weak. I said, ‘You need to pick up the pace,’ and so she did. Same with Alma.”
Ambrose averaged 168 for the tourney despite a nagging hamstring injury and Sutton averaged 153 despite a minor groin pull. Lacee Ness rounded out Oly’s scoring with a 137 average.
“Actually, I was impressed with as many kids as we had in the top 10 averages,” Colby said as all but Ness finished top 10. “Olympic was mentioned quite a few times. It’s got to be uplifting for the girls since I have really worked their butts off this year. I think it’s gonna pay off.”
The Eagles were led by Carys Bailey, who finished with the tourney’s top average of 188 thanks to a high game of 205. That put her a pin ahead of Bremerton’s Emmy Thomas, who averaged 187 thanks to a tourney-high 227.
Bailey wasn’t intimated at all by the league’s top bowlers around her, which coach Loree Hippe said was for good reason.
“She bowls with those guys on a travel league,” she said. “She’s used to bowling against those guys.”
Serenity Jensen also finished in the top 10 with a 166 average while lone senior Chelsea Schmittler contributed a 133 in a bit of an off day. Still, Hippe was glad her only senior, who advanced to state alone a year ago, will get another opportunity to keep her, and her team’s, season alive.
“She is, she’s really excited,” she said. “It’s one of her goals this year.”
Paige Antuna averaged a 140 for the Eagles while Shannon Frey averaged 137.
“They bowled the way they have been all season,” Hippe said of her team. “They really pulled it together. It’s nice to see. They’re being a real team.”
The All-Olympic League teams were announced, with Howell, Bailey, Ambrose and Sutton all earning first-team honors. Jensen, Schmittler, Levario and Ness all made the second team, while Antuna and Frey made honorable mention honors.
The WIAA State Girls Bowling Championships take place at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 1., at Narrows Lanes in Tacoma.