Led by three seniors — two of them twin sisters — the Camas bowling team is fighting for a postseason berth.
With two matches left in the regular season, the Papermakers are sitting in third place in the 4A Greater St. Helens League with a 3-3 record.
“Our season goal is to make it to state,” said senior Kaeli Daniels, who sports a 171 average this season. “We’ve been hyping it up all season, and it’s put us on edge a bit, but we are trying our best.”
The Papermakers beat Union at Big Al’s in Vancouver on Jan. 15, but lost to Skyview two nights later. Camas senior Kimmy Boone rolled a 211 against the Titans and a 220 vs. the Storm.
Her twin sister Izzy is also a top bowler for the Papermakers. Both Boones began bowling when they were freshmen after watching their parents bowl in local leagues when they were growing up.
“On weekends we still go and practice with our dad,” Izzy Boone said.
Bowlers receive community support
Izzy Boone remembers rolling mostly gutter balls in her first game as a freshman, only knocking down 27 pins. But it didn’t take long before she was rolling triple-digit scores, and she thanked the entire local bowling community for her success.
“My favorite thing about this sport is the community because even though we are high-schoolers, the adult leagues happen right after our matches and they are all so supportive of us and they cheer us on all the time,” Kimmy Boone said. “It’s really fun to be a part of this bowling community.”
Daniels said the sport sounded appealing to her when she first heard about the opportunity as a freshman.
“Free games at Big Al’s? I thought, ‘That sure sounds like fun,'” she said. “But I spent most of my time in the arcade until I learned how to hook the ball, and that instantly made everything about bowling more fun.”
Technology has made it easier for bowlers to hook the ball effectively. Most top high school bowlers now carry at least two different balls — a’reactive’ ball is softer and hooks into the pocket, creating better angles for strikes, and special balls for second shots are designed to roll straight, making it easier to pick up tricky spares.
The lanes have also changed.
“The technology today is just crazy,” Papermakers coach Barb Burden said. “Back in the 70s, I bowled with an old ‘Black Beauty’ rubber ball and averaged 150. Now I could throw that ‘Black Beauty’ and it wouldn’t do anything because the oils on the lanes are different and the patterns are different.”
Coaching in Burden’s blood
Burden has been active in the local bowling community since age 10, and started coaching junior bowlers when she was 18 in the 1970s.
Her parents, siblings and cousins were were among the best bowlers ever produced by Camas’ Riverside Bowl, which was closed in 2007, then burned to the ground in March 2012. Ralph Kraut, Burden’s father, is in the Clark County Bowling Hall of Fame, along with several other relatives, including the late Loraine Grable.
“My aunt, Loraine Grable, asked me to start helping her coach junior bowlers on Saturdays back in the early 70s,” Burden said.
Through the years, Burden bowled in leagues, worked as a teacher and coached bowling for several high schools, including Fort Vancouver and Hudson’s Bay, before taking over as the Papermakers’ head coach in 2016.
“I’ve had most of these girls all four years,” she said. “They have really improved, and we are always hoping they are peaking at the right time.”
The Papermakers wrap up the regular season with matches against Battle Ground (Jan. 22) and Heritage (Jan. 24).