North Texas Daily

Bowling club continues to build on past success

Bowling club continues to build on past success

Bowling club continues to build on past success
March 26
00:11 2015

Alex Lessard / Staff Writer

It’s a sport not likely to draw in large crowds or pack venues of excited fans.  Bowling alleys are typically reserved for a fun night out, or a stage for a youngster’s birthday party. Professional bowling is not among the predominante sports leagues in the country. But for some North Texas students,  bowling has become an integral part of their lifestyle in a fun and competitive way.

The Mean Green bowling club has proven to be one of the top programs in the country in recent years, as it has finished each of the past six seasons with a top-50 ranking, according to collegebowling.com. Each year, the club tries to find new and talented members to add to the squad.

“We’ve had times where we only had five, and we’ve had times where we’ve had 12,”  kinesiology senior Brandon Cruz said. “It kind of fluctuates from year to year, but we’ve definitely gotten our name out more over the past four years.”

This season, North Texas won the Southwest Intercollegiate Conference tournament, earning a bid to one of four Intercollegiate Team Sectionals in the country from March 14-15 in Fort Worth. After 64 total games, North Texas finished in 13th place, a little more than 800 pins shy of the top-four finish required to advance to the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships.

The majority of the team’s roster is comprised of bowlers with more than 10 years of experience playing in various recreational leagues and in high school. Forensic science junior and club captain Travis Davenport said the club encourages all North Texas students to attend practices throughout the season — if they have time to spare.

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History freshman Jacob Reed swings his arm back before launching the ball down the lane on March 11 at Brunswick Zone in Denton.

“We had a guy come in who did nothing but throw the ball straight down the lane,” Davenport said. “He was just a house bowler that wanted to come out and see what the bowling team was like.”

Women are also encouraged to participate in the club and are allowed to play in the men’s division, but there must be at least five women in order to have a separate women’s team. The club practices from 3 to 5 p.m. every Wednesday at Brunswick Zone in Denton.

Members try to meet up for additional training outside of their weekly practices as much as possible in order to prepare for seasons that consist of more than 10 tournaments. Only eight players per team are permitted to play in a tournament, so the club usually brings the bowlers with the most experience in different types of conditions to competition.

“The people that travel with us are the ones that are going to have the most versatility with their game,” Davenport said.

Decision sciences senior Eric  Woodward, who is in his second season with North Texas, said college bowling can be very challenging because it is an elevated level of competition compared to what most of the bowlers have faced.

“In high school and league, you bowl one team at a time as opposed to collegiate, where you bowl maybe 20 or 30 teams at a time,” Woodward said. “It’s a more competitive and fun environment overall.”

Davenport said the team aims for an average score of 190, but its best bowlers usually average scores in the low 200s.

Chad Newman, who was named the Professional Bowling Association’s Rookie of the Year in 2012, has coached the team for three seasons. But Newman and the team are planning to part ways because of Newman’s schedule. Brian Lake, another bowler on the PBA Tour, will likely take over as the head coach for next season. Davenport said he is excited about the future of the club.

“Hopefully next year, we’re going to have some good freshmen coming in eager to learn with a lot of potential,” Davenport said. “That way, we can build our program a little more back to its former glory.”

The 2014-15 season was highlighted by multiple tournament wins, including a victory over West Texas A&M University, the Mean Green’s unofficial rival. However, North Texas fell out of the rankings in the middle of the year for the first time in more than five seasons. Woodward said he hopes the team can make a run at Nationals next season.

“[This year], we got down on ourselves a lot for tournaments we didn’t win, and we were way too hard on ourselves,” Woodward said. “We just need to have fun and enjoy this [upcoming] year more than anything else.”

Featured Image: Computer science junior Kevin Bowman stares down the pins moments before he begins striding toward the lane. Photos by Devin Dakota – Staff Photographer

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ICYM:I SPORTS: North Texas suffers first loss of the season to Southern Methodist📝@prestonrios_ 📸@Tzac24 https://t.co/edTsvrD5zm
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@prestonrios_: North Texas falls 65-35 to SMUThe Mean Green travel to Houston next Saturday to take on the Cougars in their season opener@ntdaily📷: @Tzac24 https://t.co/X6DUFYuIyE
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