The W.F. West bowling team claimed the District 4 team championship Wednesday afternoon, and a berth to the state championship tournament on February 3 and 4. The Bearcats defeated a loaded district that included seven of the top teams in state, with only three spots available to move on to the state tournament.
"Our coaching staff was so proud of our team's performance,” Bearcats coach Don Bunker said. “We knew districts would be a challenge and our strategy for the tournament was executed to perfection by our team.”
The Bearcats championship run is even more impressive because they were without one of their top average bowlers, Tyran Ozretich. The ‘Cats brought up three junior varsity bowlers and they came through and gained valuable varsity experience.
"Jainah Johnson, Lexie Delisle and Brea Tracy really stepped up for us to fill in for Tyran," Bunker said. “Of the three, Jainah really clutched up for us. She was lights out in our seven Baker games and is an amazing teammate."
In the first three games the Bearcats managed to average 189 as a team. The Bearcats knocked down 951 pins in game one, 930 in game two, and 958 pins in game three, while scoring an impressive 2839 total pins before going into the seven Baker games.
"It was a team effort but our seniors really bowled well and led the way for us," Bunker said.
In game one the Bearcats were led by defending individual district and state champion Piper Chalmers who shot a 259. Senior Clara Bunker added a 226 and senior Savannah Hawkins bowled a 190.
In game two the Bearcats were again led by Chalmers' 249 and Bunker's 212 games. Sophomore Savanna Hoyt-Siler added a 175.
In game three, the Bearcats really got hot behind Hawkins' 197, Hoyt-Siler's 202, Bunker's 175 and Chalmers' nearly perfect 264 game.
"Piper started the game with 9 strikes in a row,” Bunker said. “It was really impressive to watch her poise to bowl at that level when we needed it, all the pressure of the district tournament, and 200-plus people with cell phones pointing at her to witness a possible perfect game.”
Chalmers' 10th frame resulted in her first ball coming in a little high which resulted in a 4-10 split, which was her only open in the tournament.
After the first three games the Bearcats had a small 117-pin lead over second-place R.A. Long's 2722 total pins.
"At the end of the first three games we were neck and neck with R.A. Long,” Bunker said.
“Fort Vancouver and Columbia River were battling it out for the final third-place state berth. R.A. Long has a really talented young team and have been getting stronger this season. They will be a force to reckon with at state this year and for the next few years."
In the seven Baker games the Bearcats used their entire line-up to hang onto first place. The ‘Cats averaged 182 for the seven games increasing their lead over R.A. Long by 226 pins to take the championship.
In the individual portion of the tournament Piper Chalmers' repeated as District 4 champion for the third time in her career with a career high 772 series. Clara Bunker took home a fourth place finish with a 613 series. Centralia's Bailee Spriggs took second place in the first year of their program and will compete in the individual portion at the state tournament.
The state tournament will be at Bowlero South Seattle, 100 Andover Park W, Tukwila, WA 98188. The tournament times will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Friday and Saturday.