Bowler takes plunge, excels in transfer
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Douglas Wagner’s bowling career began on a sick day at the age of five years old.
His mother, who worked the counter at the local bowling alley in his hometown of Moorhead, Minnesota, would bring him along if he was not in school.
“If I was ever sick, I would have to go with her to work and she would put me on a lane and I would bowl by myself,” Wagner said.
When he was younger, bowling was not his only sport, he enjoyed playing baseball as well.
Eventually, he gave baseball up to focus all of his attention on bowling around the age of 13.
The decision paid off when out of high school he went to bowl at Midland University, a four-year school in Fremont, Nebraska.
Although Wagner found good times at Midland, he began to wonder about a better bowling program.
“I definitely enjoyed it at Midland, but I weighed my options and thought about coming [to Wichita State],” Wagner said. “[Wichita State is] a well-known program. You just know about Wichita State if you’re into bowling.”
The decision was not an easy one for Wagner.
Due to NCAA rules, Wagner had to sit a year before competing if should he transfer to WSU.
“He’s committed to having a better experience than what he’s had at his previous bowling school,” WSU head coach Gordon Vadakin said. “So he decided to come to the best, which is us, trying to get a heightened experience.”
However, changing schools was not the only decision Wagner made. In March of his freshman year at Midland, he began working out to improve his physical conditioning. He’s never been the same since.
“I never wanted to quit working out since I started, Wagner said. “Working out is a major part of who I am now.”
Wagner worked out seven days a week consistently for almost a year and a half. He would spend 40 to 60 minutes a day on cardio. He also changed his eating habits to more fruits and vegetables.
“I am a much happier,” Wagner said.
Through physical conditioning, Wagner lost 80 lbs.
“I gained a lot of confidence in myself,” he said. “I became who I truly am.”
During his freshman year, he continued his schooling in his hometown at Minnesota State Community and Technical College.
After a year there, he was able to come to WSU and try out for the team with no no guarantee he would even make the selected group.
Wagner completed his dreams when through tryouts he made the team.
“To walk in here, go through our tryouts and bowl well enough to make it is a big accomplishment,” Vadakin said. “We pre-selected eight guys and had four fill up the team from the tryout process — which is a brutal 33-game, 10 different lane process.
“Doug came in and grinded it out. He was pretty impressive in our tryouts.”
Wagner, now a select-team bowler at WSU, is showing his mental ability for the game as he works on improving his bowling skills.
“He’s able to let the bad shots go,” Vadakin said. “He seems able to bounce back quickly.”