Boasting a blend of experienced bowlers and those still learning the nuances of the game, the White River High team have returned from their winter break sporting an impressive 9-1 record.
The team, under the direction of coach Peggy Jacobsen, split its final match before the holidays. Always competing in a double-dual format, the Hornets downed Washington but slipped against Steilacoom on Dec. 13. The team’s lone loss came against a Sentinel squad that rolled its best match of the season. White River had easily downed Steilacoom when the league foes met earlier in the season.
As teams now prepare for the season’s stretch run, the Hornets are tied with Franklin Pierce, both sitting at 9-1. White River defeated the Cardinals when they squared off earlier in the season, but Franklin Pierce will be looking for a bit of revenge when the two meet again on Jan. 8. That will mark White River’s first actions since before the holiday break.
Jacobsen has had plenty to work with this season, juggling a roster that starts with senior Dakota Farrer whose average sits in the upper 140s. On the other end of the spectrum, the coach has worked with girls who were new to the sport and began the season often rolling games in the 60s. That’s where much of the improvement has come, Jacobsen said, noting those scores are now hitting triple digits.
“The first week we were just breaking bad habits,” Jacobsen said, while emphasizing some of the sport’s basic elements.
Farrer is joined by fellow seniors Peyton Wallen and Rylee Goetz; junior Marissa Dolson; and freshmen Madeline Firle, Morgan Smith, Taylor Tjossem and Mallory Whipple.
Bowling is a second-year sport at White River and is unique to the Plateau. Nearby districts like Enumclaw, Sumner and Tahoma do not offer bowling.
There are plenty, however, who offer bowling as part of their varsity slate of sports. White River competes in a nine-team South Puget Sound League 2A against Franklin Pierce, second-place Clover Park, Foss, Steilacoom, Washington, Renton, River Ridge and Lindbergh.
Jacobsen said the notion of forming a bowling program at White River began when a few girls started advocating for the sport. She credits Hornet Athletic Director Chris Gibson with being a true supporter from the outset.
”He did everything he could to make it happen,” Jacobsen said.
During a match, five girls make up the varsity team. First, each bowls two complete games; then comes a pair of “Baker games,” which sees the five teammates alternating frames. In the end, victory is decided by the total pinfall for all four games.
The team’s schedule has girls practicing each Monday and Wednesday and competing on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“I like to give them an academic day,” Jacobsen said, explaining there is nothing scheduled on Fridays. From a physical standpoint, a day off is welcomed, she said, noting that bowling is tough on the shoulder.