Puyallup: Sports

Rogers’ Harris helps point future of bowling program in the right direction

Just a sophomore, Rogers High bowler Kristina Harris has a stellar future ahead of her if her performance at the Class 4A state bowling tournament over the weekend is any kind of indicator of what’s to come.
Just a sophomore, Rogers High bowler Kristina Harris has a stellar future ahead of her if her performance at the Class 4A state bowling tournament over the weekend is any kind of indicator of what’s to come. jbessex@gateline.com

Just a sophomore, Rogers High bowler Kristina Harris has a stellar future ahead of her if her performance at the Class 4A state bowling tournament over the weekend is any kind of indicator of what’s to come.

She added a fifth-place finish at state to her collection over the weekend at Narrows Plaza Bowl in Tacoma.

Last season, Harris jumped onto the state scene after she finished second after rolling a 1,246 behind state champion Cheyanne Greening (1,279) of Easmont. The expectations were high for the now-sophomore as many around felt this year’s 4A state championship was her’s to grab.

It kind of felt like a lot of people thought I should win a title this year. I finished in second last year, so it was obvious next step for me.

Kristina Harris

“It really felt the same coming into state,” said Harris, who finished in fifth with a score of 1,132 pins. “It was the same tournament I competed at last year, but when it wasn’t going my way at first, I started to feel the pressure to catch up.”

As a league bowler her entire life, the lanes for her success have already been setup for Harris. It’s only about whether she can knock down that final split and win the crown.

Well, that’s what Harris felt about the pressure.

“It kind of felt like a lot of people thought I should win a title this year. I finished in second last year, so it was (the) obvious next step for me,” Harris said.

But in sports, nothing is ever a gimme.

“I was a little more nervous because of that, but with my team with me, I was able to relax and adjust later on,” Harris added.

Coming into high school bowling was supposed to be fun for Harris, and in a lot of ways, those expectations have been met, if not exceeded. It’s just something about this time of year, when everything matters — and especially after the season Harris had as a rookie — all eyes were on what she might accomplish this year.

When Harris first stepped onto the bowling lanes of Daffodil Bowling, Rogers coach Justin Wisness knew the talent behind Harris’ game.

Two years ago, Wisness was saying that bowling was a hard game to predict. A great player can come in a turn a downtrodden team into state contention. That’s what Harris has done for Rogers.

“When you have a really good player, your team can kind of sit back and let her carry the team to state. And some teams do that,” Wisness said. “But this team wants to get better and improve themselves, so they’re helping the team. This is a young team, so they’ll be plenty of more opportunities for them over the few years. It’s going to be great to see what they can accomplish.”

In back-to-back seasons, the Rogers bowling team has proven itself as one of the top teams in the state. The Rams finished sixth this year, one year removed from third-place finish, showing that Harris and company can match up with some of the top teams in state year after year.

When you have a really good player, your team can kind of sit back and let her carry the team to state. And some teams do that. But this team wants to get better and improve themselves so they’re helping the team.

Rogers coach Justin Wisness

“We have nothing to be sad about,” Harris said. “From how we were at the beginning of the year, and just gaining the experience and all that stuff. We’re very proud.”

Eastmont dominated the field over the weekend, winning the 4A state championship with an impressive 7,824 pins. Hanford (7,508) and Thomas Jefferson (7,264) finished in second and third respectively.

As tournament weekend wore on, the mood and attitude at Narrows Plaza started to shift. With the pressure of an individual title washed away, the enjoyment of the moment started to set in for Harris and her teammates.

“It was fun because we all started to chant for each other,” Harris recalled. “Puyallup would start a chant for us, and then we would start chanting for them. And then TJ (Thomas Jefferson) starts chanting with us and we started to cheer TJ on — it was a lot more fun this year.”

And that’s what it should always be about at this time in the season. Yes, the Rams came up short of an individual or team state title this year. But Harris is looking to the future with a healthy dose of optimism.

“I still have two more years left and I just want to enjoy it as much as I can,” Harris said. “(I want to) get back here with my team, and just do our best next year.”

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