Olympic bowlers ready for state with district title in hand

Olympic's Liza Ambrose, who rolled a series of 597 at districts, readies for a shot during the Olympic League Tournament.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photo

The Olympic girl's bowling team is ready to roll for a state title.

With yet another first-place finish, this time at Saturday's West Central District bowling tournament at Bowlero Lanes in Tacoma, the Lady Trojans are in position to secure the school's first-ever Class 3A state bowling championship.

"It's pretty exciting, we've had a phenomenal season," said co-coach Dave Colby. "I keep telling our girls, 'This is our year, so let's make it happen.'"

It's happening at a torrid pace for the Lady Trojans, who also won the Olympic League regular season championship as well as the league's postseason tournament, compiling a 15-1 record along the way.

But after cruising to a relatively easy 87-pin victory over second-place Bremerton at last week's league tournament, Olympic received a much stronger test from its neighborly rival at districts.

The Lady Trojans knocked down 3,274 pins to Bremerton's 3,264, according to scores released by Klahowya coach and district tournament committee member Loree Hippe, who handles statistics for the Olympic League, to earn a narrow victory.

Liza Ambrose rolled a series of 597, tops amongst Olympic rollers and second overall to Klahowya's Carys Bailey (598), and Alma Levario (550) and Emily Sutton (539) finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in individual series to give the Lady Trojans three of the day's top six rollers.

"I've been trying to get into their heads the team concept; that we're a team, not a bunch of individuals," Colby said. "They've bought into that."

Convinced this is the strongest team Olympic has fielded during his tenure, Colby said Monday "the girls are pumped and ready to go" as the two-day state championship event, beginning 10 a.m. Friday at Narrows Plaza in Tacoma, looms.

"Things are going to be very competitive," Colby said. "We have as good a chance as anybody."

Colby couldn't say how Olympic compares to the top teams from eastern Washington, meaning the state title most likely will come down to Olympic, Bremerton and whoever emerges from the pool of schools traveling cross-state.

But it's the Lady Knights, the defending Class 3A state champions, who pose an immediate threat despite Olympic having beaten them four times in five tries this season.

"They are a strong team and they have a great coach," Colby said. "You just can't rule out Bremerton. Only a fool would rule out Bremerton."

The Olympic-Bremerton rivalry has picked up steam since the teams split matches early in the season. Olympic then won the third and final regular-season meeting before capturing the league tournament and district championship. Along the way, the Lady Trojans rolled five games of 900 or higher. The team had never eclipsed 900 prior to this season.

"It makes it very competitive, very exciting," Colby said, adding the rivalry, while certainly competitive, is friendly. "We're always pulling for each other."

Klahowya finished third at districts with 2,831 pins to secure a berth to state, as did Central Kitsap, which finished fourth in Class 4A district action.

State action begins at 10 a.m. Friday with six regular games and resumes at 8 a.m. Saturday with 14 Baker games.

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