Rio Grande bowlers qualify for sectional tourney

By Randy Payton - For Ohio Valley Publishing

RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande’s first-year men’s bowling program has been notified that it has qualified for the United States Bowling Congress Intercollegiate Team Championships.

The RedStorm will participate in the Smyrna, Tennessee sectional tournament March 10-11.

“After losing several players to grades the first semester, we continued to push forward,” said Rio Grande head coach Bret Little. “We placed well enough in the remainder of our regular season tournaments to gather the points we needed to place in the top 80.”

The top 80 teams in the nation – the RedStorm is currently ranked No. 78 – are split into four groups of 20 and compete for one of the top four slots in their group.

Other schools in the Smyrna Sectional include Ball State, Bethel, Emmanuel, Florida State, Huntington, Indiana, Lawrence Tech, Lincoln Memorial, Lindsey Wilson, Louisville, Martin Methodist, Michigan State, Ohio State, Pikeville, Robert Morris-Illinois, Savannah College of Art and Design-Savannah, St. Francis-Illinois, Union and Wisconsin-Whitewater.

In addition to Smyrna, sectional tournaments are also being staged in Stratford, NJ; Fairview Heights, IL; and Dallas, TX.

The top four teams advancing from each sectional will qualify for the national championship tournament, which will take place April 18-21, at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Sectional assignments are based on Team Ranking System (TRS) points earned throughout the USBC Collegiate season. USBC Collegiate attempts to place no more than two of the top eight schools and no more than four of the top 16 schools in a sectional based on the final TRS totals. Sectional qualifier fields take geographic distance, economics and field size into consideration.

The sectional format consists of 32 Baker games each day for a total of 64 Baker games. Total pinfall for the 64 games will determine which teams advance to the national championship.

In addition, the four centers will host qualifying for the 2018 Intercollegiate Singles Championships on March 9. Student-athletes at each of the four sectional events will bowl six games with 24 men and 24 women – the top four men and top four women at each sectional plus eight additional individuals based on sectional field size – advancing to the national singles tournament on April 17-18 (qualifying and match-play rounds) and April 21 (semifinals and finals) at Sun Valley Lanes.

“We will have individuals competing in the singles event on March 9th,” Little said. “We’re just not sure on the complete list yet.”

Members of the RedStorm team who are heading to the tournament are freshmen Austin Cook (St. Marys, OH), Kaleb Taylor (Washington Court House, OH), Chris Somerville (Gallipolis, OH), Brandon Westerfield (Barberton, OH) and Isiah Pickell (Logan, OH), as well as sophomore Zach Morris (Vinton, OH).

Freshman Macy Detty (Jeffersonville, OH) will also represent the Rio Grande women’s team as an individual.

In addition to Little, the RedStorm coaching staff includes Phil Karl and Savannah Joslin.

“It’s a tremendous achievement for a first-year program. It just shows the dedication of our coaching staff and student-athletes,” said Rio Grande athletic director Jeff Lanham. “It’s always a positive when you’re able to reach the goals you set for yourself in a particular year. It’s going to be fun to experience the future of Rio Bowling.”

By Randy Payton

For Ohio Valley Publishing

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.

Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.