The final dramatic frame brought South Kitsap’s Sarah Stolle to tears.
She wasn’t sure who she was crying more for — herself capturing the Class 4A state girls bowling championship, or her good friend who missed out on her bid to become the first reigning 4A champion to repeat.
“I could not have felt better for me.” Stolle said, “or worse for her.”
In the closest finish ever in the Class 4A tournament, Stolle rolled a final-game 211 to edge Eastmont’s Cheyanne Greening by two pins for the state title at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place.
Stolle finished six games at 1,253; Greening was at 1,251.
“I am so proud of her,” Greening said. “We both did well. I could not ask for anything more.”
Except for maybe a little bit of luck from the bowling gods.
Stolle entered the final game trailing by 17 pins, but rolled three consecutive strikes to start. She had an open fourth frame, but rebounded by rolling back-to-back strikes.
“I told her, ‘It is your mental approach to this game that will win you a state championship,’ ” South Kitsap coach Lee LaDeaux said.
Even after making four consecutive spares, then a strike on her final ball, the outlook was still in Greening’s favor.
All Greening needed to do was mark — make a strike or spare — in the 10th frame.
But Greening’s first ball went right through the nose in the pack of pins, and left her with a nasty 6-7-10 split, essentially handing the 4A title to Stolle.
“I tried not to freak out about it,” Greening said. “But that one lane (No. 38) had given me trouble all day.”
The two had become friends at last year’s state tournament.
As good as they are in bowling, they have strikingly different personalities.
Greening is the vocal leader at Eastmont. She wears her emotions on her sleeves. She is a flutist in the school marching band.
The slightly-built Stolle, who makes a wicked wrist move through the ball on her shots, is reserved. She looks like she popped out of the library to bowl in the biggest tournament of her life. She is also an accomplished clarinetist.
“Win or lose, she is a good friend, and I definitely would have (gladly) taken a close second to her,” Stolle said. “She is an amazing bowler.
“Oh my gosh, it was so close.”
Eastmont might not have to worry about a close finish for the 4A team title. With 4,399 pins, the Wildcats hold a 133-pin advantage over Hanford entering the final team session of 14 “Baker” games Saturday morning.
Sitting in third place in Jefferson (4,136), which got a great individual effort Friday from Whitney Lee, who finished third in the individual competition with 1,158 pins.
“I think we can shoot for second,” Jefferson coach Joseph Townsend said. “We have something to strive for.
“These young ladies, I told them no matter what, we are in the elite eight. This is like gravy on top of the mashed potatoes. They’ve had a great season. They stay together. They fight. They claw. And tomorrow, they are going to come out here and give it all they’ve got.”
In the 3A tournament, Wilson is also in third place — with 4,651 pins. The Rams got a good showing by top bowler Sierra Berry (1,012), who placed 13th.
But they will need a good second day to hold off Bethel (4,624), which is right on their heels in fourth place.
Kerissa Andersen, the No. 2 bowler at Evergreen of Vancouver, won the 3A individual crown with 1,190 pins. She held off fellow 3A GSHL standout Regan Lorey (1,176), of Hudson’s Bay, to win it.
Spanaway Lake’s Carolina Snowden rallied to place seventh in 3A with 1,067 pins. She was the 4A champion in 2015.
SELAH TAKES 2A CROWN
Before Saturday, in its two previous state appearances, Selah High School had never even sniffed championship contention.
That all changed in the Baker team format at Narrows Plaza.
The Vikings had games of 199 and 171 in the fourth and fifth games to overtake overnight leader and three-time state champion Mark Morris, and held off the Monarchs for their first Class 2A crown.
Selah won with 6,599 total pins, to the Monarchs’ 6560. WCD champion North Mason placed sixth with 6,190.