Porsche Chartrand dreamed of this moment since she started rolling bowling balls down the lanes at the age of 11.
“To win any tournament is something I’ve always wanted,” said the 17-year-old Camas High School junior. “It feels good to be the first Camas district bowling champion. I walk a little taller now, that’s for sure.”
Chartrand made her dream come true by racking up scores of 205, 198 and 226 for a combined series of 629 Friday, at Allen’s Crosley Lanes near downtown Vancouver. Her 226-game set a new school record and helped the Papermaker defeat Stacy Dettling of Evergreen High School for the 4A district championship medal by five pins.
“I’ll never forget the look on my teammate’s faces when they realized I won,” Chartrand said. “I dedicate this medal to all of them, and to my dad and my coaches.”
Chartrand nailed five strikes in a row during that record breaking third game. What coaches Doug Huegli and Con Tornow said helped out the most was her ability to bounce back from a throw that veered off the mark and still get a spare. She even picked up a 1-3-6-7 split in the final game.
“I took the advice given to me and kept my composure,” Chartrand said. “I want to throw a strike every time, but that’s not going to happen. Having fun bowling with my friends is what high school is all about.”
Chartrand hopes to heed that advice when she represents Camas in the state tournament Friday, at Narrows Plaza Bowl in Tacoma. After grabbing third place at districts last season, she finished in 32nd place at state. This year, she feels more comfortable.
“I found out last year that it’s easy to implode under that kind of pressure,” she said. “Now that I have more experience and I’ve been there before, I’m excited to show them what I can do.”
Huegli and Tornow hope Chartrand is just the first of many Camas bowlers who become champions. Right now, the Papermakers are still playing catch up against teams who have more years of experience. This is only the second year for high school girls bowling at Camas.
“It’s fun for both of us to be a part of her dream,” Huegli said. “It is her determination to get a bowling program established at her high school that has made all of this possible. That and the support from Camas athletics. Now more girls have the opportunity to participate in a different sport. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Unfortunately, bowling season begins just as the Camas girls soccer, swimming and volleyball teams are fighting through the playoffs. But word of mouth about the bowling team is spreading through the halls. Chartrand’s district title should help, as well as the other girls on the team who showed tremendous growth this season.
Camas junior Emily McDonald rolled a 224-game in the district tournament. Before that, Huegli said she had never bowled above a 180. The coaches gave all seven Papermakers an opportunity to make an impact on the team score. Camas defeated Union by 238 pins for fifth place.
“We had girls rotating in and out the whole time so they could clear the butterflies and gain the experience they need for the future,” Huegli said.