Successful defense at Rebel Classic highlights 2019-20 campaign
By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Tinajero
A season mired in uncertainty and unexpected circumstances.
The Grand Canyon University Women’s Bowling team was challenged in a variety of ways throughout the 2019-20 campaign, but the Lopes rolled with the punches like a seasoned prize fighter.
Despite a constantly revolving schedule due to declining women’s bowling programs across the west coast, GCU turned in a quality season, highlighted by a tournament victory in January at the Rebel Classic in Las Vegas.
“Our schedule was reduced due to the small number of women’s teams in the west,” explained GCU Bowling Head Coach Ben Canfield. “It was difficult not to be disappointed, but the ladies responded well and put their best efforts forward each time we had the opportunity to compete in a match or tournament.”
The Lopes’ win at the Rebel Classic was their second victory at that event in as many years. GCU freshman Mackenzie Theophilus took second in the tournament’s individual standings to lead the Lopes, who topped Colorado Mesa University to clinch the title for the second year in a row.
Also among GCU’s accomplishments this season were a sixth-place finish at the Arizona Cup in the team’s final tournament of the year, and a victory over Arizona Christian University in a head-to-head challenge match in December.
“The season posed a handful of challenges on and off the lanes, but the team was resilient,” Canfield said. “It would have been easy to throw in the towel, but we fought to the end and hope to take what we learned into next season.”
Perhaps GCU’s biggest catalyst was junior LeAnne Kommenich, who became a leader for the Lopes and helped galvanize the group – on and off the lanes.
“She did a great job of leading the team by creating a positive environment during tournaments and at practice,” Canfield said. “Her transition from role player to leader this year was fantastic.”
Canfield credits Kommenich and her teammates for adjusting on the fly to a fairly significant roster change – something he believes played a role in the team’s victory in Las Vegas.
“In January, we had the opportunity to bring up a bowler from our recreational team to replace an injured team member,” Canfield reflected. “The team did a great job of welcoming her and teaching her about the college bowling world. Their ability to work together led to our victory in Las Vegas at the Rebel Classic.”
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