One season removed from an 0-15 finish, the Puyallup High girls bowling team completed a stellar turnaround over the weekend at the Class 4A West Central-Northwest District III bowling championships at Pacific Lanes in Tacoma.
The Vikings qualified for this week’s 4A state tournament by finishing in third place in the team standings. Thomas Jefferson (3,102 pins) won the district title, followed by South Kitsap (3,102), Puyallup (2,959) and Rogers (2,888). The top four teams qualified for state.
Last year was a tough one for bowler Kaelyn Howard as her team never found a groove. Match after match, game after game, the monotony of the season wore on as the losses piled up on Puyallup.
“My sophomore year, we had four girls and that doesn’t even qualify for a team,” Howard said. “Last year we got slightly bigger but we still weren’t big enough to qualify for an entire team.”
Last year, Puyallup finished with an 0-15 overall record, making this season one of unknowns for coach Ann Carpenter.
Then the turnaround happened, where an influx of talent has put Puyallup back into the state tournament after the Vikings rolled some of their best games of the season.
Rogers sophomore Kristina Harris (567 pins) finished second in the individual standings with South Kitsap’s Sarah Stolle (586) taking the district championship.
“They looked nervous (at the beginning) ... their hands were shaking,” said Carpenter, whose team finished in fifth place (6-7, 5-7) in the SPSL this season. “But once they start bowling, those nerves will go away and they’ll have fun.”
And that’s exactly what happened.