Shockers, Warriors win

by Bob Johnson 0

The Wichita State men's team won its third consecutive national title, while Webber International claimed the women's championship at the 2010 USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships.

The Shockers dominated the men's final, sweeping Calumet College of St. Joseph, 2-0, in the best-of-three championship match. Webber International won the women's title with a 2-0 victory over McKendree.

Both championship matches will be televised on ESPN2 on Wednesday, May 5 at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Wichita State took the opening game, 232-154, and closed out the match with a 226-177 victory over Calumet to win the Kerm Helmer Cup. The Shockers extended their record to a 10th national title, while matching the record for consecutive national titles they set from 1993 to 1995.

"I can't find the words to express what this means," said Wichita State coach Gordon Vadakin, who has led the Shockers to all 10 of its men's titles in 33 years as head coach. "It's so hard to win one title, and to win three in a row is just crazy. Our guys played well all season, and the last three days have been our days."

By the 5th frame in each of the two games, Wichita State had established a big lead and kept the pressure off its anchor bowler, John Szczerbinski.

"The guys bowled so well in front of me and took all the pressure off," said Szczerbinski, one of two seniors on the roster along with Josh Blanchard. "Going out on top always feels good, but the journey was probably the best thing. The time I've spent with these guys has been unbelievable."

Calumet's Ryan Gleghorn was named the men's Most Valuable Player after leading his team to its first finals appearance in four trips to the ITC. Joining Gleghorn on the all-tournament team were Szczerbinski, Lindenwood's R.J. Klann, Fresno State's Paul Hogan and Saginaw Valley State's Matt Gasn.

In the women's final, the Warriors won the first game, 203-189, and then topped the Bearcats, 163-158, in game 2 to hoist the Helmer Cup.

Webber International, which was in its inaugural season, became just the second team to win the national title in its first appearance in the event. Wichita State was first to accomplish the feat in 1975, and went on to win eight more national titles.

"To be mentioned along with Wichita State is great because they are the program to model after with all the success they've had," Webber International head coach Randy Stoughton said. "This is absolutely phenomenal and it means everything to us. It's hard to believe this just happened."

In the opening game, Warriors' anchor Hayley Beavis came through with a mark in the final frame to lock up a victory, and then needed just five pins on her first ball in the 10th to win the title in a sweep.

"I'm a little surprised because I sprained my ankle doing fitness a week ago and was on crutches, so I wasn't sure I would even bowl," said Beavis, a native of Southhampton, England, who was named the women's MVP. "My teammates are so supportive, and this is just a dream come true."

Beavis was joined on the all-tournament team by a pair of McKendree players, Lori Hanken and Brandi Branka, and two Robert Morris-Illinois players, Samantha Kelly and Heather D'Errico.

The USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships featured the top 16 men's and top 16 women's college bowling teams in the country, vying for national titles. All 32 teams competed in best-of-seven, double-elimination match play in the Baker format Friday, after which the field was pared to four in each division.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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