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GCU Club Bowling stars find career outlet through team

Adragna fitting a customer
July 30, 2021

Lopes create positive connection with equipment partner 

By: Zach Melcher/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff

More than a discount. A building block to a career.

A mutualistic relationship has been carefully cultivated between the Grand Canyon University Bowling teams and equipment partner Virtue Bowling Supply over the past six years. 

The connection stems from the early days of Lopes’ Head Bowling Coach Ben Canfield’s professional career.

“The affiliation started as I began coaching at GCU alongside competing and working part-time (at Virtue),” said Canfield. “It is really special to have this link to people in the industry that want to help us out.”

The bond between Virtue and the Lopes only starts with providing equipment.

It provides a possible future.

Canfield’s move into a fulltime position with the Lopes opened the door for Craig Spencer, owner of Virtue Bowling Supply, to build a relationship with the next generation of bowlers.

“There is a great culture within the shops,” said Canfield. “With Craig providing employment opportunities – along with being open to educating our young bowlers on that side of the game – is invaluable.”

Virtue Bowling Supply has had four Lopes take positions within the company within the last three years. Two of them are still currently employed there: Joshua Molloy and Mathew Adragna.

Adragna started with Virtue almost a year ago and has recently been promoted to a store manager position at their Glenfair Lanes location.

“I enjoy being able to help the local bowling community with their equipment,” said Adragna. “It’s rewarding getting messages from customers thanking me for how much they love the ball I drilled for them.”

Recently, Adragna was able to fit a hesitant nine-year-old for her first bowling ball.

“The look of excitement on her face makes the whole job worth it,” said Adragna. “It can be a tough job sometimes, but seeing a new bowler get their first ball gets me coming back every time.”

All of this has benefited Adragna’s game by allowing him to experiment and better understand his equipment.

It has also improved Adragna’s bonding with the team. 

“Having the opportunity to get into the technical side of bowling with my teammates allows me to help improve their game through their equipment,” said Adragna. “My understanding of what each teammate’s ball arsenal can do for them allows me to help them in tournaments even more now.”

Spencer has seen firsthand how working in the service industry has helped both the student-athletes and his company.

“It’s always nice to gain that fresh new perspective to improve our systems,” said Spencer. “We gain young and energized talent that have a passion and intangibles that align with our company values.”

Intangibles that the new store manager can see upping the talents of his Lopes’ teammates.

“I recommend any bowler get involved in a pro shop,” said Adragna. “It will help them understand their game much more then they realize.”

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