The Emerald Ridge Jaguars refused to back down in the biggest tournament of the season.
Last year’s state runners-up finished second Wednesday at the South Puget Sound League tournament and earned a No. 3 seed to the West Central Districts tourney, which will take place Jan. 26 at Pacific Lanes in Tacoma.
“We made up some ground and finished ahead of Bethel and Puyallup,” Emerald Ridge coach Al McCormack said. “Both of those teams finished ahead of us during the regular season. We’re really excited about our performance.”
The Jaguars came together even without the services of Amy Hanson, their No. 3 bowler who missed the tournament due to pneumonia.
“We huddled up before the tournament, and we talked about it,” McCormack said. “We knew we had to step up. The girls just bowled phenomenally.”
Sophomore Elisa Couch set an SPSL record with a 709 series.
“Elisa is our anchor bowler, and what she did was incredible,” McCormack said. “The way she bowled was contagious, and it lifted our entire team. She just stepped up huge for us and is our team leader. She is the one who really got everything going for us.”
McCormack said he’s looking forward to watching his team compete at the district tournament. From there, the top five teams will advance to the Class 4A state tourney.
“We have a lot of young bowlers who haven’t experienced the excitement of these kinds of tournaments,” McCormack said. “We just have to make sure we are calm and bowl as well as we can.
“We showed in the SPSL tournament that we still have some firepower as a team when we need to,” he added. “The girls are pretty confident right now.”
Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_shaun.