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Foresters claim first-ever bowling tournament

- Article provided by Huntington University

In its inaugural conference tournament, the HU women’s bowling team mounted an impressive comeback to not only win the program’s first ever tournament but claim the top spot in the first WHAC Jamboree of the year with a total pin count of 6,411.

The Foresters joined the WHAC conference this fall as an affiliate member in bowling. The WHAC was the first conference in the NAIA to sponsor bowling as a championship sport during the 2012-13 season. Now considered an invitational sports for the NAIA, 51 schools sponsor men’s bowling while 53 sponsor women’s bowling, up from 36 and 35 respectively in 2013.

Saturday’s tournament format was a one-day event where teams bowl four regular team games followed by 16 baker games. With four baker games to go, the Forester women trailed Indiana Tech by 154 points but Shockey’s gritty crew refused to give up.

The team put together the highest four-game baker set of the tournament of 795 for an impressive come-from-behind win, beating the second-place Warriors by 34 pins. Leading the way was Brianna Cearbaugh who finished with a 180.5 average closely followed by Heidi Tucker and Abby Atkins.

The JV women’s team, behind DaYanira Garza’s 170.5 average, also posted big numbers with a pin total of 5,964 which was enough to win the JV portion of the tourney by over 91 points over Indiana Tech.

“All the coaches are really proud of the ladies,” said Coach Shockey. “This was a total team effort. The ladies did a great job of bowling as a team and for each other.

“They have worked really hard to get to this point and all the coaches feel this is still just the beginning of how good this team could become.”

On the men’s side, the Foresters tallied 6,674 pins for a solid fourth place finish out of 13 teams. Austin Schultz led the way with an average of 204.75 and for his efforts earned his first all-tournament team selection of the season. The sophomore from Valparaiso finished fifth out of the 125 players.

“The men struggled during game three and the third set of baker games,” noted Shockey. “Those two points in the day really cost us a lot of pins.”

The JV men tallied a total of 6,194 pins for a fifth place finish but Shockey knows this group is packed with potential. “The JV team had a roller coaster day with some ups and downs, but this group is mostly all freshmen and still gaining experience. We’re going to see this group improve rapidly over the next few tournaments.”

Next up for Huntington is the Columbia 300 Western Shootout on October 20-21.