March 12, 2013

Statesmen bowlers rally to secure spot at nationals

William Penn University

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. — After being oh-so-close the past two years, the William Penn men’s bowling team finally got over the hump by qualifying for nationals at the USBC Intercollegiate Team Sectionals over the weekend.

The Statesmen placed fourth out of 19 teams with 12,768 pins in 64 Baker games. Top-ranked Robert Morris (Ill.) led from wire-to-wire for the tourney title with 13,309 pins, while No. 7 Calumet-St. Joseph (Ind.) was second with 12,906 pins and No. 16 St. Ambrose was third with 12,840 pins to round out the qualifying group.

The four programs will now meet up with 12 more teams from the three other sectionals at the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships on April 18-20 in Lincoln, Neb.

William Penn, which entered the event 18th in the nation, just missed qualifying the last two years (fifth in 2012, sixth in 2011). The Statesmen came out of the gate well, sitting in second after the first session, but struggled a bit in the middle to go into the final session in fifth, 204 pins behind Saginaw Valley State (Mich.).

The Statesmen knocked down a tournament-best 3,262 pins in the last block, while Saginaw fell off its pace with 2,992, giving William Penn the fourth and final slot by 66 pins. William Penn recorded 34 games of 200 pins or more (11 in the first session), including a high of 263.

Prior to the team tournament, a total of 165 bowlers were also in competition in the six-game singles sectional Friday.

Brandon Barboza will continue his impressive individual campaign as he placed fourth with 1,433 pins, posting at least 226 pins in all six games.

Aaron Lorincz of Saginaw Valley State won the event with 1,474 pins. Seven bowlers qualified from the Fairview Heights Sectional with Jacob Kent of Robert Morris taking the final qualifier position with 1,372 pins.

Barboza, Lorincz, Kent and the four others will face off with an additional 17 rollers in a field of 24 at the USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships on April 16 and 20 in Lincoln.

Cameron Foster and Drew Balta narrowly missed joining the qualifying group. Foster was ninth with 1,355 pins, while Balta produced a final score of 1,350 pins for 10th.

Conner Frederick led a group of others who also competed by finishing with 1,273 pins.

Jacques Kaune was next with 1,270 pins, while Piet Schaeffer, with 1,210, and Travis Scott, with 1,202 pins, both went over the 1,200 mark as well.

Nathan Namanny had 1,185 pins, Conan Mackey produced 1,150 pins, Michael Applegate  and Kyle Clark each managed 1,147 pins, and Eric Smith concluded his day with 1,146 pins.

The Statesmen will compete for the NAIA title later this month as they travel to Indianapolis, Ind., for the NAIA Invitational from March 22-24.