The Cascade High School bowling team picked a good time to have its best performance of the season. As a result, the Bruins are headed to the Class 4A state tournament.
Cascade finished fourth at the 4A District 1 meet Saturday to clinch a berth to the state tournament, which will be held Thursday and Friday at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place.
“Everybody was above their average,” Bruins coach Ron Hicks said. “We’re peaking at the right time. If we bowl like we did last weekend, we’ll be in the mix (at state).”
The Bruins are led by two state tournament veterans — junior Paris Smith and sophomore Jessika Brambach.
Smith, who will be making her third straight trip to state, was one of the best bowlers in Wesco this season, posting an average score of 189, an improvement of 15 pins from last season.
“She’s a little more consistent with her release and delivery,” Hicks said. “She takes private lessons and bowls in an Evergreen Lanes league on Saturday mornings. She takes it very seriously.”
Brambach also made noticeable improvements this season, Hicks said. She took a 172 average into the district tournament, where she rolled a team-best three-game score of 574.
“She’s come a long way,” Hicks said. “She’s done a lot of extra bowling as well, and it’s been good for her. She’s come on strong at the end of the season.”
Hicks is optimistic that the Bruins, who also have received solid performances from Bella Keagle, Makayla Hammer and Nikki Duell, can hold their own at the state meet.
“We’re probably in the middle of the field as far as team average goes,” he said. “But that’s the way it was at districts, too. We have a tough road ahead of us, but we’ll give it everything we’ve got.”
Jackson qualified three bowlers for the individual competition. Senior Sam Mutolo will be making her second straight trip to the state tournament, and will be joined by senior Breanna Tolbert and junior Molly Jo Meyers.
Mutolo bumped her average to 166 this season.
“She’s our most consistent bowler,” Timberwolves coach Dan Eng said. “She never had a bad game. She’s a stabilizing influence. She’s very quiet, but leads by example, and she never gets upset.”
Tolbert signed a letter of intent last week to continue her bowling career at Notre Dame College in Ohio.
“She’s improved drastically,” Eng said. “She’s finally developed her arm swing, and she’s consistently hitting her targets. She’s got a nice left-handed curve. Last year she was averaging mid-140s, and now she’s up to 160. That’s a huge improvement.”
Meyers also has shown great improvement this season, Eng said.
“She’s progressed by 10 pins every year and this year she’s close to 150,” he said. “She has learned to throw a consistent curve. With that, she’s learned how to throw in the pocket and pick up spares.”