Lopes achieve highest finish of 3-year program; Ornelas finishes among top 25 women in Dallas
By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director
Continuing to lay the groundwork for the upcoming national tournament, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Bowling team finished 8th at the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) ITC Sectionals this past weekend in Dallas, Texas. It’s the highest finish ever for the five-year-old bowling program, besting their 9th-place result from a year ago. In addition, GCU Women’s bowler Emily Ornelas finished among the top 25 women’s bowlers in the USBC ITC Singles Sectional Qualifier at the same event. The tournament was the final event for the men before they and the Lopes’ Women’s Bowling team head to Smyrna, Tennessee, for the 2018 Collegiate Club Championships April 7 and 8.
Lopes’ Head Coach Ben Canfield was encouraged by the recent performances of the eight male bowlers making the trip with him to the Lone Star State. Canfield was further encouraged when he saw Lopes’ freshman bowler Kyle Gilbert give the team momentum on the first day by finishing 38th (out of 140 total bowlers) at the Friday Singles Sectional Qualifier, bolstered by the 225 Gilbert bowled in his 4th game. Facing some of the top NAIA, club and independent teams from around the country, the Lopes were 10th heading into the final day of competition before rallying to finish with a combined score of 11,504. GCU senior bowler Cameron Smith and sophomore Kyle Reed led the team throughout the weekend en route to the 8th-place finish.
Meanwhile, on the women’s side, Ornelas continued to set the pace for the GCU Women’s Bowling team by finishing 21st in the Friday Singles Sectional Qualifier in Dallas. The Phoenix native narrowly finished just five pins short of making the top 20 with a combined score of 1135 over her six games bowled. Ornelas bowled both a 215 and a 216 along the way.
Now both the men’s and women’s teams have just under four weeks to prepare for the trip to Smyrna, which is just 30 miles southeast of Nashville in the Volunteer State. The Lopes’ teams will both be making their second straight appearance at the Collegiate Club Championships, which will feature the top 24 men’s club teams and top 16 women’s club teams in the country.