Today, the Kennewick girls bowling team will begin the post-winter break portion of its schedule with a home match against Chiawana.
Oscar Garnica, the coach of the undefeated Lions (11-0), hopes his bowlers can stay focused on their ultimate goal — a state title — and not on what they have done so far this season.
“Right now, the matches are practice,” Garnica said. “It’s nice to be winning, but it’s not the whole season. We have a chance to win it all.”
The Lions, who last year finished fourth at state in the Class 2A/3A team standings, have a big weapon in defending individual state champion Karissa Shiflet. Through 22 games, she leads the Mid-Columbia Conference with a 195 average.
They also have returning state competitors in Daicee Singer, who finished third at districts last year and is averaging 170; Danielle Gonzales (167); and Xochitl Garcia (151 through 16 games).
Kennewick is competing in a conference with established rivals Pasco and Chiawana, and three new teams — Hanford, Richland and Connell. Garnica said he has tried to keep his bowlers’ motivation consistent in every match.
“The only thing I remind them is to practice their technique,” he said. “When the season gets over, our goal is to reach state. If we allow ourselves to not bowl as good as we can with those new teams, we have let ourselves down because the competition will be fierce.”
The state tournament is Feb. 1-2 at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place.
4A Playoff picture: Pasco (9-2) leads Class 4A teams Chiawana (5-6) and Richland (3-8) in the Mid-Columbia Conference race. The top 4A team will host the go-to-state tournament Jan. 24, and all three squads will vie for state berths — one team and two individuals.
The Class 2A/3A picture is more clear: Kennewick will receive the MCC’s automatic bid for the district tournament Jan. 23 at Nob Hill Lanes in Yakima.
Hanford (3-8) and Connell (2-9) are fighting for crossover tournament seeding. The MCC No. 2 seed will host the CWAC/CBBN No. 3, and the MCC No. 3 will visit the CWAC/CBBN No. 2. The winners of those matches will move on to the district tournament with Kennewick and the CWAC/CBBN No. 1 seed.
At districts, the four teams will compete for two team berths and four individual slots in the state tournament.
Bowler, school Avg Gms
Karissa Shiflet, Kennewick 195 22
Kendal Saueressig, Hanford 178 20
Karla Garcia, Pasco 175 20
Daicee Singer, Kennewick 170 22
Danielle Gonzales, Ken 167 22
Mariko Sital, Pasco 161 21
Carrie Nolan, Pasco 160 22
Maddy Serrano, Pasco 159 20
Neydeen Martinez, Pasco 159 18
Mekenzie Richardson, Rich 157 22
Savanna Jones, Kennewick 157 20
Shannon Cochran, Richland 156 22
Valerie Vela, Chiawana 148 20
Kyanne Jensen, Chiawana 148 19
Catherine Robertshaw, Han 144 21
Alexandra Shuster, Connell 144 20
Desirae Baker, Rich 140 18
Madison Vance, Rich 139 21
Adriana Galvan, Chiawana 137 18
Brenda Vela, Chiawana 136 19