Sophomore Hallie Stuart strikes gold, becomes Black Hills High School’s first WIAA state girls bowling champion

Managing an aching finger, and an assertive coach-sister, Black Hills High School sophomore Hallie Stuart captured the Class 2A/1A state girls bowling individual championship Thursday afternoon at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place.

Trailing White River’s JoJo LaTurner after the morning session, Stuart took the lead for good with a 212-pin fourth game.

Stuart totaled 1,131 pins in six games, finishing just ahead of LaTurner (1,095) and W.F. West’s Piper Chalmers (1,094).

She became the Wolves’ first state champion in girls bowling. Grace Gibbs was the state runner-up for Black Hills in 2018, which was the previous school-best showing.

But Stuart overcame a couple of critical challenges to win Thursday.

She came into the tournament with cracked skin on her right thumb, which happened when she switched to a new bowling ball at last week’s Southwest District tournament.

If that wasn’t tender enough, Stuart’s older sister – Nicole (Hayes) Pocklington – is not only one of the all-time greats at Black Hills (fourth at state in 2012), she is now the school’s coach.

“It is cool, but it kind of sucks, too,” Stuart said.

Stuart admitted afterward having her sister down on the lanes for the final game was a huge benefit.

“She just kept telling me, ‘Keep trying, keeping going,'” Stuart said.

It was Stuart’s first tournament win in more than a year, not since she captured first place at the Thurston County USBC youth championships.

Stuart placed 15th at the state tournament as a ninth grader in 2019.

Class 2A/1A top individual finishers: Hallie Stuart (BH) 1,131 pins; JoJo LaTurner (WR) 1,095; Piper Chalmers (WFW) 1.094.

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