DAYTON, Ohio – McKendree junior Breanna Clemmer and freshman Tom Hankey Jr. of Webber International each captured national titles at the 2019 Intercollegiate Singles Championships at Poelking Lanes South on Saturday.
Clemmer, the 2019 United States Amateur champion, beat Vanderbilt’s Jordan Newham, 226-194, for the women’s title while Hankey rolled to a 245-182 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Matt Hibbard in the men’s final.
CBS Sports Network will televise the women’s semifinals and title match on Tuesday at 11 p.m. Eastern, and the men’s championship rounds will air April 30 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Clemmer already owns a couple of collegiate titles as a member of the Bearcats’ teams that won the 2017 Intercollegiate Team Championships and the NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship. When she made the television show, she said a singles title was one item on her goals’ list.
In the title match against Newham, Clemmer struck on five of her first six shots and held a 30-pin lead through seven frames. Both players would go spare-strike-spare to close the match, and Clemmer was able to check off her singles-title goal.
“My family came in and surprised me the other day and it was amazing having them here and my girls here,” Clemmer said, talking about her McKendree teammates. “It’s just an amazing feeling and I really can’t describe it.”
Clemmer slipped past Wichita State senior and Dayton native Sierra Kanemoto in the women’s opening semifinal in a back-and-forth match. After a missed 4-pin spare attempt in the seventh frame, Kanemoto struck on her first ball in the 10th to need 9 pins and the spare to win. She only got seven, allowing Clemmer to advance with a 204-202 victory.
“She’s one of my closest friends and I adore her, and it was hard seeing that happen to her,” Clemmer said. “But, at the same time, I had to focus on the next task at hand.”
Newham, who had to return to Nashville, Tennessee, to make her senior presentation at Vanderbilt before returning to Dayton for Saturday’s matches, took a 20-pin lead over Karsyn Lukosius of Fairleigh Dickinson early in the first women’s semifinal.
Lukosius then had back-to-back 2-10 splits in the seventh and eighth frames, and could not covert either one, as Newham took a 214-183 victory to reach the final.
In the men’s title match, Hankey started with strikes in four of the first five frames while Hibbard opened his first two frames. Hibbard struck in the fourth and fifth as he tried to work his way back into the match, but he would have his third open frame of the match and Hankey closed by striking in three of the final four frames in the 245-182 victory.
“This is awesome, and right now it means the world to me,” said Hankey, who won the U15 Junior Gold Championships title in 2015. “All the hard work and dedication all year long, from August to now, this all comes together, and when it happens like that, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Hankey topped Kyle McGrath of Lawrence Tech, who he would see again in the team title match later Saturday. Hankey started that match with four consecutive strikes, and while McGrath struck on three of his first four shots, he couldn’t convert a 2-10 split in the second frame. Hankey continued to build on his 34-pin lead from that point, winning 248-178.
Hankey said having the second semifinal match was helpful in his run to the title.
“That was a big advantage,” Hankey said. “I knew exactly what the lanes were doing, I could keep right in rhythm.”
In the first men’s semifinal, Hibbard struck on five of his first six shots in a 219-170 victory over Robert Morris-Illinois senior Daniel Hanson, who won the 2016 ISC title as a freshman. Hibbard built a 51-pin lead through six frames and stayed clean until the final frame.
The 2019 ISC had a field of 24 men and 24 women who qualified through one of four sectional events held throughout the country in March.
This week’s competition at Poelking Lanes South consisted of six qualifying games to determine seeding for the single-elimination match-play bracket. Bracket matches were three games, with total pinfall determining the winner, until the final rounds, which were one-game matches.
BowlTV.com provided live coverage of the ISC leading up to the televised finals.
Visit BOWL.com/ISC for more information on the Intercollegiate Singles Championships.
2019 INTERCOLLEGIATE SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Poelking Lanes South, Dayton, Ohio
Matt Hibbard, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, def. Daniel Hanson, Robert Morris-Illinois, 219-170
Tom Hankey Jr., Webber International def. Kyle McGrath, Lawrence Tech, 248-175
Hankey Jr. def. Hibbard, 245-182
Breanna Clemmer, McKendree def. Sierra Kanemoto, Wichita State, 204-202
Jordan Newham, Vanderbilt def. Karsyn Lukosius, Fairleigh Dickinson, 214-183
Clemmer def. Newham, 226-194