By: K.J. Wylie/GCU Staff
Nine Lopes’ bowlers to earn All-American, Academic All-American Awards
It’s every coach’s dream to have exceptional athletes who perform at high levels in their respective sport. However, none could forget the cliché, “You are a student first, and an athlete second.” When it comes to Grand Canyon University’s Men’s and Women’s Club Bowling programs, they proved they could get it done both in the classroom and at the lanes.
The National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association (NCBCA) released their list of All-American Awards for the student-athletes who have maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher for the 2017-18 season. Seven Lopes’ bowlers-three women and four men-made the prestigious list. On the women’s side, GCU’s Candace Gardner, LeAnne Kommenich and Emily Ornelas displayed exemplary performance in the classroom this past year. For the men, Lopes’ bowlers Ronald Dela Torre, Kyle Gilbert, Matthew Green, and Zachary Rapp set the example academically.
“This is a testament to how well they prioritize their work from week to week,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Ben Canfield. “Each of them worked diligently to keep up with their educational obligations, while also fulfilling all that is asked of a member of the GCU Bowling Team.”
The Grand Canyon Bowling program hit a plethora of milestones this season on the lanes, and the Club Team Bowling Coaches Association took notice of the superb success. The Lopes’ had three bowlers, two women and one man, voted to the 1st and 2nd Team All-American squads based on their individual performance throughout the season.
Correen Lieber earned 1st Team All-American honors for the Lopes, followed by Emily Ornelas-who was the lone Lope to earn both awards-and Cameron Smith, who were both voted to the 2nd Team.
“All three of them came into the season with this being a goal in mind,” said Canfield. “For Cameron, he was on the second team last year, so this was almost a confirmation of him being deserving. And because the women’s team didn’t play enough games to qualify for the award last year, they each really wanted to achieve it this year.”