To nobody’s surprise, Battle Ground High School ruled again in high school girls bowling Saturday.
With a dominating effort totaling 7,809 pins over two days at Narrows Plaza Bowl, the Tigers became the first school in state history Saturday to win four consecutive WIAA 4A state bowling championships.
Will it continue?
It very well could.
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Junior Cassandra Huit will likely be a state individual contender next season, and the Tigers have enough underclassmen depth to build around her. Coach Harold Lysne will also return.
But Bethel High School, which finished 342 pins behind Battle Ground as the Class 4A state runner-up, is certainly poised to make an even better run in 2015-16.
On both days, the sophomore-heavy Braves got off to the fastest starts in the field — only to eventually be reeled in by Battle Ground. They have an emerging standout in Nikki Wood, who is also the team’s undisputed leader.
In fact, before action started Saturday morning in Tacoma, it was Wood who stood up in front of her team and gave a pointed pep talk.
“There is no way this day will be forgotten,” Wood said. “Battle Ground will come here next year, and so will we — and we will fight twice as hard for (the 4A title).
Interestingly enough, the Braves under longtime coach Brandon Cain are built eerily similar to Battle Ground. They are balanced throughout their lineup, and can handle any unexpected misstep.
“(Bethel) definitely looked good. There were a couple of teams here that looked good,” Lysne said. “We just take it one year at a time.”
But there seemed to be a mutual respect shared as Wood finished up her team’s tournament with a 10th-frame strike to end the 14-game Baker team format, a couple of Battle Ground bowlers came up to offer congratulations.
Bethel’s second-place finish was the best in school history, eclipsing the fourth-place showing in 2010.
For now, this is Battle Ground’s world, and everyone else is living in it.
“Everyone was saying we were going to win at state, but we still had to go prove it,” Tigers senior Adrianne Schock said. “It took work. We were behind at the beginning of both days, but we pulled through.”
In the Class 3A/2A tournament, Columbia River expanded its first-day lead and cruised to its first 3A/2A state bowling crown.
The Chieftains had 7,734 pins to easily hold off Southwest District rival R.A. Long (7,486) and Olympic League champion Olympic (7,443).
Wilson High School was fourth at 7,345, marking its best state finish since 2012 when it was the 3A runner-up to Mark Morris. It also meant taking home its seventh state trophy (top-four finish or better), tying Bremerton for best in state history.
The three-time state champion Rams also had big Saturday efforts from their two seniors — Shannon Bailey (eighth) and Hunter Fruehling-Thomas (16th).
“Shannon brought it. Hunter brought it,” Wilson coach Ken Richardson said. “This is nice. It is a feather in our cap.”