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WICHITA, Kan. – After an errant shot by the opposing team, the Shocker men seized their opportunity en route to the 2014 McKendree Baker Challenge title at Bel-Air Lanes in Belleville, Ill. last Sunday Feb. 3rd.
In the best 2 of 3 title match, Lindenwood University’s anchor bowler left a 4-6-7 split which yielded an open frame. Needing decent count on the fill ball Matt McNiel delivered a strike, sending the Shockers to a final game. As the conditions proved brutal, the Shockers began the game with 5 consecutive spares while Lindenwood struggled to find the pocket.
“We struggled to strike on Saturday,” senior Devin Bidwell said. “Sunday was different though. We made shots when we needed to. Baker brings out the best in us.”
All 24 teams bowled 36 baker games in qualifying. After, a cut to the top 8 teams was made. Players bowled in a bracket format, best 2 out of 3 games.
The Shockers qualified and faced the fifth seed McKendree University. Starting strong, the Shockers fired 248 to McKendree’s 217. As the lanes transitioned, Wichita threw a 174 to McKendree’s 170, moving them to face William Penn University.
WSU began the next match strong again, shooting 244 and 219 to William Penn’s 216 and 168. The championship match began differently as Wichita lost the first game before winning the next two on the way to the title.
“This was another strong performance by our men,” Head Coach Gordon Vadakin said. “We’re headed in the right direction. Things are beginning to look interesting.”
The Lady Shocks followed a different path on the way to a 2nd place finish. They lead qualifying by 468 pins and swiftly moved through their bracket before falling to St. Ambrose in 3 games.
Wichita State women also faced McKendree in their first match, moving on with games of 197-178 and 204-186. The second match, versus Mount Mercy, ended similarly with games of 203-193 and 185-156.
The championship match began strong but WSU lost their reaction, finishing their tournament with games of 155-186 and 159-210.
“It was a weekend with a few ups and downs,” senior Holly Harris said. “There are a lot of positives to take away. We know what we need to work on to improve for post season.”
The Shocker men and women travel to Indianapolis, Ind. for the Hoosier Classic at Western Bowl next weekend. BowlTV is live streaming the event on www.youtube.com/bowltv.
For more information about Shocker Bowling, please visit www.wichita.edu/bowling.
The Rhatigan Student Center has been the major financial and administrative supporter of the Wichita State University bowling program since 1959.