Washougal freshman places 4th at 4A state bowling tournament

Addysen Case also helped her Skyview Storm team secure a 1st place team finish

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Washougal High freshman Addysen Case, a member of the Skyview High School bowling team, holds her medals after winning the 4A District 1 team championship on Jan. 28, 2022. (Contributed photo courtesy of Washougal High School)

When Addysen Case entered Washougal High School as a freshman in the fall of 2021, she really wanted to join a high-school bowling team. Her only problem was that the school didn’t have one.

So she had to get creative in order to achieve her goal.

“I talked to my athletic director (Gary McGarvie), and he was able to make a combined team with Skyview High School,” she said. “I got referred to Skyview because some of the people I bowl with every Saturday morning for league go (to school there). I was like, ‘Yeah, I would love to do that. I think it would be a really fun experience.’ And it was.”

It was also a successful experience for both Case and the rest of the Skyview bowlers. The Washougal High freshman placed fourth at the 4A state tournament, held Feb. 5, at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place, Washington, and led the Storm to a first-place finish in the team standings.

Case finished her four-game series with a score of 762, with a single-game high of 231. And she actually believes she could’ve done even better.

“It was amazing,” she said. “I was really proud of myself, knowing there were a lot of older girls there that I was competing against. It was a really fun experience, and I was glad that as a freshman I was able to place so high. I thought I would bowl a little bit better. I definitely didn’t bowl how I wanted to. I was really glad that the way I bowled ended up working to place (fourth), but next time, I have to take that focus and channel it a little bit better.”

Skyview coach Traci Chun said she was “thrilled” with Case’s performance.

“I think she had the potential to take the individual championship, but as a ninth grader, participating in her very first tournament on a new team, there was obviously a lot of nerves,” she said. “For her to place fourth in the individual at her first state tournament was really impressive. She had a low game in her second game, but she was able to rally and fight back, and not a lot of ninth graders have the maturity to do that. For her to be able to do that was really impressive.”

Case led the Vancouver school, a member of the 4A Greater St. Helens League, to its first state championship. The Storm placed three bowlers in the top eight — Case, Lauren Graynor (fifth) and Chloe Gregory (eighth) — and finished with a final score of 5,139, well ahead of second-place Olympia (4,934) and third-place Eastmont (4,726).

“It was really great knowing that this was their first team title,” Case said. “The girls were really happy. It was really exciting to be a part of that, and seeing how happy my teammates were was really cool.”

“We won districts in 2021 and in 2020 we finished third at state, so we had a pretty solid team, but we just needed one more piece to the puzzle, because it does take five bowlers,” Chun added. “Addysen definitely was the final piece. Obviously having her on the team helped us win a state title. Our fifth bowler needed to be somebody who was positive, and she brought that, too. She didn’t just bring amazing bowling skills. She also brought a positive energy to the team that really made the difference.”

Case quickly established herself as not only one of the best bowlers on her team but in Southwest Washington early in the season. She rolled a career-high 253 during a match against Mountain View on Monday, Dec. 6, at Big Al’s in Vancouver, and won the Class 4A District 1 individual title on Friday, Jan. 28, at Husted’s Hazel Dell Lanes by tallying 673 pins across three games to qualify for the state meet.

Case credited Ron Henderson, a local bowling instructor who served as a volunteer coach for the Storm, for her stellar performances.

“At the beginning of the season, I started out with my average at 170, 180, and all I saw from when (Ron) started coaching me was progress,” she said. “My scores went up by about 20 pins, and I think that he had a big help in that because he brought me so many things to try and so many of those things worked out. Not only that, but my teammates pushed me really, really hard to get better, for me and for them.”

Case’s teammates embraced her as part of the squad despite her status as a Washougal High student.

“The team was really welcoming when I first came,” she said. “They were really easy to be friends with and bowl with, and they were super supportive through the entire season. They helped a lot. They didn’t make it weird or awkward. It was a really nice welcome.”

Chun agreed.

“There was never any (awkwardness),” she said. “I was more worried that she was going to come in and somebody would be like, ‘Oh no, she’s better than me. Is she going to take my spot?’ But no, they were thrilled to have somebody that was passionate about bowling. She was fun and energetic and fit right in. It was just meant to be. They had a lot of respect for her because they knew she put in the work. Then once she got more comfortable and started being a goofy teenager with the rest of them, she fit right in.”

Chun said she “would be shocked” if Case didn’t have an individual state title before she graduates from Washougal High School.

“Honestly, it’s hard because (the state tournament is) one day, and anything can happen on that one day — you’re tired or you don’t feel well or your wrist is sore or whatever. And I don’t like to jinx things,” she said. “But she’s such a great bowler that I can’t imagine her not taking an individual title. I think that her athleticism, work ethic and coachability are going to make her even more of a powerhouse in the future.”

Introduced to the sport by her parents, Case started bowling at Hazel Dell Lanes when she was 5 years old and hasn’t stopped since. She said if she’s “not at the softball field,” she can be found at the lanes every Saturday for league competition.

Case also plays softball — she’s expected to be one of the Panthers’ top young players this spring — and volleyball, but loves bowling for its individual nature.

“It’s nice knowing that (bowling) is not a super-fast paced sport,” she said. “I have two other fast-paced sports, so it’s nice that (bowling) is super calm and a nice chance to work on a lot of things without being so active. Also, it can be a team and individual sport, and I think that’s nice, knowing that I can work with a team but also sometimes bowl for myself and have high expectations for myself. If I bowl in tournaments at state or districts, I’m bowling for my team, but I can bowl at an individual tournament — high school or not — and worry about myself and what I’m doing and work on things.”

Case looks forward to bowling for Skyview during her remaining high school years, but if Washougal High ever starts a team of its own, she’d definitely be willing to represent her school on the lanes.

“If (Washougal) did have a team, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. Regardless, I would try to help my team get to districts and state,” she said. “But I’m really, really glad they allowed me to have this opportunity (with Skyview), because the competition is really good, and I think it’s good for me to see that and see who else in the state can meet those expectations that I see for myself.”