Thomas Jefferson High School girls bowling assistant coach Marty Lee gives the Raiders pointers on technique at practice Wednesday. After two-consecutive trips to state the past two seasons and one trip to nationals this spring, coach Joseph Townsend said his team’s expectations are high. JESSICA KELLER, the Mirror

Thomas Jefferson High School girls bowling assistant coach Marty Lee gives the Raiders pointers on technique at practice Wednesday. After two-consecutive trips to state the past two seasons and one trip to nationals this spring, coach Joseph Townsend said his team’s expectations are high. JESSICA KELLER, the Mirror

TJ bowling team sets goals high after last year’s success

With five varsity returners and a lingering sense of accomplishment after making its first ever appearance at nationals, the Thomas Jefferson bowling team has hopes for this season.

The Raiders team only lost two seniors last year, and with a strong roster in place, coach Joseph Townsend thinks his team has a lot of potential, as well, if the girls stay on track.

As of Thursday, the Raiders are undefeated after winning their first four matches, their latest victory coming over the previously undefeated Decator Gators under new head coach Mike David.

Townsend said, with bowling still a relatively fledgling sport in the North Puget Sound League, interest is still growing, but so too are the number of girls coming out for the sport. He said he is especially excited to see how the Gators will compete this year, as he likes the enthusiasm and engagement David brings.

“That type of attitude, it rolls down to your players,” he said.

For his team, Townsend said, the Raiders’ success this season depends on staying motivated. He said they really want to make a third-consecutive trip to state, where they placed third last season, earning them a spot in the national tournament, but they cannot take for granted that outcome.

“When we’re bowling in league matches, they have to challenge themselves to compete,” Townsend said, adding he has stressed the importance of their focus being on their own performances and beating their own numbers and not those of their competitors. “It’s a tough thing because it’s easy to fall asleep at the wheel when you’re not being pressed.”

Townsend said he and his players will have a better idea of where their focus should be after next week when they will take on Bethel and South Kitsap, which placed fourth behind the Raiders at state last year.

Then, they have a tournament with a number of schools on the weekend, which will present more games against teams that are unknown quantities.

“I have a feeling next week, they’re going to face some adversity,” Townsend said. “So next week is going to give me some nuggets to coach with.”

If his players can stay tough and mentally loaded this season, he said they should be in good shape when they get to district.

“We’re lucky we have five bowlers right now who at any one time can be the best bowler on the team,” Townsend said.

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