Bowling team to compete in Wichita for National Title

Grant Cohen

Wichita State Bowling travels all across the United States to compete in matches during the regular season. The Shockers have won three of their 20 national titles in Wichita.

For the second straight year, Wichita State competes for a national championship in their hometown; the 2016 Intercollegiate Team Championships will be held at Northrock Lanes April 18-23.

“We have a very good community that has been around this program for years,” head coach Gordon Vadakin said. “It’s a very savvy bowling community, [the fans] get it and they understand it.”

When tournaments are held in Kansas, Wichita State tends to do very well. The women’s team finished first in the opening tournament at Northrock Lanes, and the men finished in second. Both teams finished third Jayhawk Collegiate Classic held in Lawrence.

The Shockers have won three out of their 20 National Championships when the event was hosted in Wichita – they also won three titles in Rockford, Illinois. The men’s team was victors in Wichita in both in 2008 and 2015, while the women’s team won the 2007 title at Northrock Lanes.

Students and fans will not be the only ones in attendance for this year’s events. Wichita State Bowling alumni from previous national championship teams will be in attendance to be recognized as well as cheer on this year’s teams.

“We have over 100 alumni coming next week,” Freshman Brandon Biondo said. “That adds a little bit of pressure because [alumni] who have won are going to be watching.”

Though they’ve had the luxury of competing there in back-to-back years, WSU rarely has the luxury of competing for a National title in an environment close to home. Vadakin said that the environment next week is going to be completely different than what his teams have faced in past events. The men have the chance to defend their national title, and the women look to capture their first since 2009, for the final time in front of their hometown – the tournament will be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, next season.

“We are just another team when we go somewhere else. That’s the normal scenario,” Vadakin said.

Regardless of where the National Championship is, nor how many titles the program holds, Wichita State understands that they still have to come out and compete at the highest level.

“We don’t just automatically win this thing,” Vadakin said. “This thing is way harder than everybody imagines. We get everybody’s best shot and we know that.”

The singles championships begin on Tuesday, first round of team championships begin on April 21 at Northrock Lanes.