By David Carter/GCU Club Sports Web Marketing Intern
It was a tournament to remember.
GCU Men’s Bowling accomplished a first in its young program’s history when they finished 4th at the United States Bowling Congress Intercollegiate Team Championship (ITC) Sectionals in Dallas, Texas this weekend, punching their collective tickets for ITC Nationals in Dayton, Ohio April 17-20.
“It feels awesome,” said GCU Men’s Bowling Head Coach Ben Canfield. “It is something that every collegiate bowler and coach dreams of. We are just super thankful and proud of our accomplishment.”
The Lopes needed to finish in the top four in the 18-team tournament to qualify for nationals. The Lopes were seeded No. 8 before the ITC Dallas Sectional tournament began, and had to face a field that included non-club teams who were ranked in the 2018-2019 CollegeBowling.com’s Week 19 rankings including No.3 McKendree University, No. 5 Wichita State University (WSU), and No. 10 William Penn University (WPU). The Lopes are ranked No. 32 in this poll.
WSU won the event with a score of 13,050 pins, McKendree placed 2nd with 12,913 pins, WPU was third with 12,550 pins, and GCU rounded out the top four with a final score of 12,336 pins.
“It was the toughest field we faced all year,” said Canfield. “It was the best teams from all over the country. Nothing was given to us. We had to fight for every single pin.”
In fact, the Lopes’ players didn’t pay much attention to their pre-tournament seeding.
“Our team is pretty confident in our abilities,” said GCU Men’s Bowling Captain Joshua Mabry. “The six of us that bowled have good chemistry with each other. I know that if I made a bad shot, one of my teammates can back me up and vice versa.”
The Lopes will now need to carry this momentum from sectionals to the Collegiate Club Championships, occurring April 6 and 7 from Indianapolis, Indiana. Both the GCU Men’s and GCU Women’s Bowling teams will compete in this event. The Lopes have a very clear mindset for their next two tournaments.
“We need to focus in on our next event (the Collegiate Club Championships),“ said Canfield. “For the men, we need to use that as preparation for ITC Nationals. But, we also need to enjoy the moment and not get to ahead of ourselves.”
As for their goals and expectations for the events? Simple, according to Mabry.
“Now the real work starts, and we have to get to the level that we can be at to win a national championship(s),“ said Mabry. “It definitely shows us that we can compete with the best.”
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