Bowlers striving for strikes and spares

Season preview: East Pierce teams brimming with potential

of the HeraldDecember 4, 2013 

Emerald Ridge bowler Elisa Couch throws a ball for a strike last season. Couch finished sixth individually during the Class 4A state tournament last February.

KENT NEWMAN/SPECIAL TO THE HERALD

During the past several seasons, the east Pierce County region has had some of the best bowling teams in the state.

The Puyallup Vikings placed seventh at the Class 4A state tournament last year, and the Emerald Ridge Jaguars finished eighth. Alyssa Feller, the Rogers Rams’ lone bowler at state, captured third individually.

Here is a capsule look at how each of the three teams will perform this winter:

EMERALD RIDGE

Head coach: Al McCormack, fourth year

Last year: Placed eighth at state

Key players: Elisa Couch, junior; Kenzie Lewis, junior; Kenzie Forgey, sophomore; Amy Hanson, sophomore; Kiasa Sims, senior.

The Jaguars return the majority of their team that finished eighth at state last year.

Emerald Ridge head coach Al McCormack said junior Elisa Couch, who placed sixth individually last February, is the team leader.

“Elisa brings a lot of stability and keeps the girls on the team motivated and on the right track,” McCormack said. “She bowls all year around in highly competitive tournaments. That gives her a competitive edge when she is on the lanes.”

McCormack said Kenzie Lewis and Kenzie Forgey have been dominating in early season practices.

“They both joined bowling leagues in the offseason, and it is paying off,” he said. “They’ve made huge improvements from last year.

“We have an all-around talented team. Our goal is to get back to the state tournament as a team and see what we can do.”

ROGERS

Head coach: Justin Wisness, fifth year

Last year: Alyssa Feller advanced to state individually, placed third

Key players: Feller, sophomore; Sierra Duda, senior; Megan McAlister, senior; Danielle Gamboa, sophomore; Amy King, junior.

Competition has been fierce for the Rams’ five varsity slots during the first few weeks of practice. Rogers head coach Justin Wisness said his team’s roster consists of 15 players, and 13 are returning from last season.

Wisness expects the competition factor to make his team strong all season long.

“Whenever you have big numbers, it creates a competitive environment, which is fun,” Wisness said. “All of the girls are striving to get on that varsity squad. Even the C team players are battling to get on the JV squad. That competiveness within our team is going to help us.”

Wisness believes the Rams will have a shot to advance to the state tournament as a team in February.

“I haven’t seen much of our league compete yet, but I definitely think we have a chance to make it,” he said. “I think, if all the stars align right, we’ll be there.”

PUYALLUP

Head coach: Anne Carpenter, ninth year

Last year: Placed seventh at state

Key players: Christine Ginther, sophomore; Emma Newlander, freshman; Megan McChesney, sophomore; Amber Henneberry, sophomore; Brittany Reese, senior.

The Vikings will look vastly different from the team that placed seventh at state last year. Four seniors graduated last June, and Puyallup head coach Anne Carpenter said they’ll be replaced with primarily freshmen and sophomores.

Brittany Reese will be the team’s lone senior.

“We’re a very young team, but we’re excited about it,” Carpenter said. “Right now, we’re struggling with our Baker games. That is what we’ve been working on in practice. We have to hit our marks and build those frames. It’s a learning curve, but we’ll be fine. We’re going to continue to work hard and see where it takes us.”

Sports Editor Shaun Scott can be reached at 253-552-7002 or by email at shaun.scott@puyallupherald.com. Follow him on Twitter @herald_shaun.

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