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Bowling: Undefeated Olympic rolls on to districts
That's how long it's been since a team from Olympic High School won a state championship, the baseball squad doing so in 1984-85.
But if all goes to plan for the Olympic girls bowling team, that will soon change.
"We are determined," senior captain Liza Ambrose said. "We know we're the best team out there."
After finishing the regular season with an undefeated record, the Lady Trojans stormed the Olympic League Tournament at All-Star Lanes & Casino in Silverdale on Friday, knocking down 450 more pins than runner-up Bremerton High School.
Olympic finished with a total pin-fall of 3,474 to Bremerton's 3,024 behind Audrey Deutsch's high series of 598, becoming league champions and advancing to the West Central District III tournament with a record of 15-0.
The team has won 29 of its last 30 regular-season matches and is the favorite to win districts, which would put it in the state championships for the second time in as many years. It placed second at state last year.
"It's been up and down. We've had our really great games and then we've also had our really bad games," Ambrose said. "I think we've actually grown better as a team because now we know what we need to work on."
The Lady Trojans dominated the Olympic League all season, and the evidence is in the numbers.
During the regular season, Olympic featured four of the league's top five bowlers based on the average number of pins knocked down per regular game out of a possible 300.
Ambrose was second in the league with an average of 185, followed by Deutsch (182), Lacee Ness (172) and Emily Sutton (167). Klahowya Secondary School senior Carys Bailey was first with an average of 187.
Olympic must maintain those scores to secure a district title and move on to state.
"The mindset now is, 'Think positive,'" Olympic coach Dave Colby said. "All I tell them now is, 'You can do it, it's yours. How bad do you want it?'"
But Olympic isn't the only team who wants it.
Bremerton, winning a state title in 2008 to give the school its first championship in any team sport since 1976, is primed for a return trip after a third-place finish last year. Klahowya, coming off a sixth-place finish in 2009, also is looking to advance.
The Lady Knights (11-4) knocked down 38 more pins than Klahowya (9-6) to earn second at the league tournament, but Lady Eagles coach Loree Hippe believes her team can overtake the one-time champs.
"In bowling, you never know what will happen on any given day," she said.
Hippe said there will be at least two bids to state and possibly a third out of the West Central district, although the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association had yet to make an official announcement Monday.
It is an important detail because Bremerton and Klahowya are currently second and third overall in pin-fall average among the Class 3A/2A district-qualifying teams, with Timberline, Yelm and North Thurston High schools also set to compete.
Bremerton and Klahowya split two meetings during the regular season.
"We're in it to win it," Bremerton coach Dean Wagner said. "It's going to be a tight battle, but my girls are confident."
Districts are begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Bowlero Lanes in Tacoma.