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WICHITA, Kan. – Success in Shocker land at Wichita State University comes from hard work. Not only do student-athletes excel on the lanes from their practice, they also excel in the classroom; and the Academic All-American statistics support that.
Last semester 15 Shocker bowlers achieved Academic All-American status, that is, a cumulative GPA of 3.5. In fact, over 250 Academic All-Americans have come out of the Shocker bowling program since its conception.
“It’s great when one of our players comes back to me with a success story on the lanes,” head coach Gordon Vadakin said. “But I absolutely love it when a student-athlete comes into my office excited about an exam score. A student obtaining a degree is our main priority.”
The minimum GPA for a collegiate bowler to maintain is 2.0. For the Shockers, the minimum is 2.25.
“We are all about maximums here,” Vadakin said. “Our bowlers are students first, then athletes.”
With team practice, individual lessons, study hall and competition, a typical Shocker schedule uses nearly all 168 hours in the week. Junior Francois Lavoie, a 3-time Academic All-American, strongly believes in time management.
“I always have a planner with me to write down assignments for each class,” Lavoie said. “With a schedule as hectic as ours, it is very hard to remember everything that goes on each day. Writing everything down keeps me on track with all assignments and due dates.”
Multiple freshmen found their way into the Academic All-American list, too. Of those, Jason Ciszewski, a developmental team player, relied on his strict study habits to maintain a balance between practice and homework.
“I set aside time to do homework first,” Ciszewski said. “When my work was completed, then it was time for practice and competition. School has always been the main focus.”
Freshman Justin Zwaschka, a first year select team player, was privileged enough to attend a school that prepared him for the work load.
“Balancing engineering courses, bowling and social life was definitely a challenge,” Zwaschka said. “Luckily, the school I came from instilled the great work ethic I needed to do well here.”
Students from many different school years earned their spots on the Academic All-American list this year, those include:
Jason Ciszewski (Freshman, Parlin, N.J.)
Francois Lavoie (Junior, Quebec City, Canada)
Matt Helmick (Senior, Rio Rancho, N.M.)
Ashlyn Herzberg (Freshman, Wichita, Kan.)
Mitch Hupé (Freshman, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
Allie Ijams (Senior, Wichita, Kan.)
Brandon Martin (Freshman, Derby, Kan.)
Tyler Maxwell (Junior, Wichita, Kan.)
Matt McNiel (First year graduate, Prior Lake, Minn.)
Rachel Moe (Sophomore, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.)
Kelsey Muther (Senior, Topeka, Kan.)
Catherine Prather (Sophomore, Milton, Fla.)
Jack Stewart (Freshman, Park City, Kan.)
Caitlin Tam (Freshman, Markham, Ontario, Canada)
Justin Zwaschka (Freshman, St. Joseph, Mo.)
The Rhatigan Student Center has been the major financial and administrative supporter of the Wichita State University bowling program since 1959.
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