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WICHITA, Kan. – After an emotionally charged week, the Shocker bowling Men’s and Women’s teams left the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with their heads held high as they did exactly what they were supposed to do; leave it all on the lanes.
With a high quality qualifying performance, the men landed the first seed position for best 4 of 7 baker match play. The Shocker men fired a perfect 300 game with a sub on the fill during qualifying.
“It was the easiest shot I have ever made for a 300 game,” Rhoades said. “Having the team behind my back made it feel effortless. Everyone wanted me to throw the shot, it was exciting.”
The first match of the day caught the attention of the WSU men as they were swept by Fresno State 4-0. Lanes proved tough and spares were a premium as the high score of the match was Fresno’s 200 in game 1. After a lane play discussion, they powered through the loser’s bracket. Eventually, WSU knocked out the defending champions Robert Morris University one match before the semi-final when junior Francois Lavoie struck on the fill shot of game 6.
“Francois had been bowling great for a while,” senior Devin Bidwell said. “I’m pretty sure we all wanted him in that position.”
After fighting through the loser’s bracket, WSU needed to beat the undefeated Urbana University twice to advance to the telecast. The first match was a grueling sway of points, with WSU coming out on top after seven games.
Even though neither of the 2013-2014 ITC (Intercollegiate Team Championships) titles came home with the Shockers, the Men’s season ended with as much intensity and passion as college bowling can bring out of teams.
Everything rode on the tenth frame of game seven, the match before the telecast, when Graham Fach of Urbana University doubled to knock the Shockers out of contention.
“This team played with a lot of heart,” head coach Gordon Vadakin said. “That’s all you can ask for. Play your heart out.”
The Lady Shockers posted solid scores in qualifying, also grabbing the number one seed for baker match play.
Sadly, they experienced an abrupt season end as they were knocked out of the tournament in three matches. They hung on as long as they could with two of their three matches ending in seven games.
“There isn’t anything I would take back,” senior Kelsey Muther said on Facebook. “We played like champions and not just in that tournament…all year.”
Match one had some close calls when the ladies struggled to find their reaction after winning the first two games. Bellarmine University needed one more point to seal the deal before the Lady Shockers huddled to talk strategy. WSU strung some strikes to fire a 243 in the final game, winning the match.
In match two, Pikeville University found their reaction, taking out the Shockers in six games.
Day two started in the loser’s bracket versus Midland University and senior Tannya Roumimper spared the 2-10 split of game two to tie 189-189. In game four, Roumimper struck out in the tenth frame to win the game and hold on for a little bit before the women’s season ended.
With a 3rd (Men) and 9th (Women) place finish at the ITC, the Shockers made their way home.
The Rhatigan Student Center has been the major financial and administrative supporter of the Wichita State University bowling program since 1959.