Newman bowlers will compete at nationals in own backyard

After traveling nearly 1,200 miles to compete in the qualifying tournament, members of the Newman University Women’s Bowling Team will venture just 14 miles from campus next month to battle in the 2016 USBC Intercollegiate National Championships.

The national team competitions will be held April 21-23 at Northrock Lanes in northeast Wichita.

The Newman Women's Bowling Team locked up a spot in the team championships with an impressive showing at the Las Vegas sectional March 12-13.

Newman Head Coach Billy Murphy believes the opportunity to compete in the national tournament at home is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"Being able to play for a national championship in our hometown is special and will be an emotional yet incredible experience for these ladies," Murphy said. "I'm sure we will have a big group from our university and families out to support us which will make it even more special."

The Jets have shown improvement all season and seem to be peaking at the perfect time. They dominated the competition in Las Vegas, finishing their 64 baker games with a total of 12,639 to lock up their second sectional championship and 11th trip to nationals in the 13-year history of the program. Newman finished nearly 350 pins better than second-place Pikeville and recorded the best score of any the four sectional winners.

"The ladies played with a maturity that has been growing stronger all year. (As a coach) It has been fun to watch," Murphy said. "They were on a mission to not only make it to nationals but to win and prove to people around the country that they have developed into one of the best nation's teams. A strong will determination made it happen."

Two Jets excelled in the individual competition March 11. Sophomore Hailey Williams won the individual section title and sophomore Miranda Hejny also qualified for nationals individually by tying for third place.

Both women advance to the USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championship April 19 at Northrock. It will be the first time since 2012 when Georgia Wiggins-Drewes won the individual title that Newman has had a women qualify for the singles championships. The Newman program can boast three singles titles, two on the women's side and one on the men's side.

Just missing the individual nationals were Caycee Landers who finished seventh, and Ashley Hare who finished 14th at nationals.

OH SO CLOSE

The Newman men also turned in an outstanding effort at sectionals but finished just outside of a qualifying spot in the top four. The Jets tallied a total of 13,111 over their 64 baker games, only 33 pins behind Midland, which grabbed the fourth spot and 30 behind fifth-place Arizona State.

In the individual portion of the tournament senior Trevor Baumgartner finished in fifth place. His total of 1,292 (215.3 average) was just 20 pins outside of an automatic qualifying spot in the top four. Junior Alex George finished with a 1,244 total to place 10th.

Sophomore Chance Rivera finished 13th with a 1,229 pin total.

"The men bowled awesome. There were four teams within 60 pins going into the final two games of the tournament. The guys averaged 205 for the weekend which is the most we have averaged in several years, unfortunately we came up just a little short," Murphy said.

More on the sectional competitions can be found on the Newman University Athletics website.

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