First Collegiate Tier 1 of the Season

This weekend was the start to the collegiate bowling season for the Robert Morris University Eagles. Over the summer McKendree University received quite a few new assets to their program in the O’Keefe’s and young superstar Greg Young. Defending national champions, Lindenwood University also received a superstar in Michael Coffey. Needless to say I knew going in that it would be an interesting first tournament with our new team. We wanted to make sure people didn’t forget about us quite yet. Even though we lost PBA rising star, Marshall Kent, and former Jr Team USA member, Dominic Partipilo this past year, we feel that this team is the best team that we have had to date. Lets just say we have A LOT of new tools in the bag that we can’t wait to use this season.

As far as the tournament went for myself individually, I really struggled with carry the whole weekend. I couldn’t seem to find the answer with any of my hand tricks on any of my 4 bowling balls that I brought with me for the weekend (Tier 1’s are limited to 5 balls so I brought 4 and plastic). I ended up finishing just under even for the 9 games of qualifying with a 168 my last game of qualifying. In past years, I would have been really upset with this performance, feeling like it may have impacted the possibility of winning individual awards at the end of the season. It didn’t effect me as much this weekend because the only thing I want out of this year is a national championship and I am going to do everything I can to help my team achieve that, even if that means doing it from the bench.

After 3 team games on Saturday morning, we were in 14th place and roughly 300 pins out of first place. The last three games we bowled just ok averaging sets around 1060 but the lanes got very tough and the scores kind of came back down towards us. Coming into Sunday with 3 more team games and 12 baker games ahead of us we had put ourselves in 3rd place and within 60 pins of the lead. After the final 3 team games had concluded, we had jumped into the lead by about 60 pins. At the end of the 3rd team game I was crossing about 22 at the arrows. Not entirely sure what happened to the lanes during the short break but when we came back to bowl baker, none of us could keep a ball on the right side of the lane. We struggled the first set of baker (4 games) shooting about 770. They were so hard that we actually gained a few pins on second. We got in a huddle and decided that this wasn’t going to cut it. I was leading off the team in the 1 hole and I had a conversation with our coach Danny “DJ” Hayes about our ball reaction and he came up with the idea that I try moving way right and playing the gutter with plastic. At first I thought he was joking but then he said “every ball is a tool in your bag and sometimes you have to dig deep in that bag to find the right tool so lets think outside the box here”.  I have said over and over again that he is the most underrated coach in collegiate bowling.

At the beginning of the next set I moved to the gutter with my plastic ball and as soon as the ball left my hand I knew it was going to strike and by the time it was 30ft down the lane my teammates knew it too and started yelling and screaming. After the ball split the 8-9, we got into a huddle and put everyone in the line up who had brought plastic or urethane with them for the weekend, it didn’t matter who it was. We put people in who were ice cold and hadn’t thrown shots for well over an hour. We also had our new freshman lefty Kenny Ryan anchoring the team throughout all of baker and he had quite the look playing the gutter on the left side with urethane as well. We proceeded to shoot 900 that set which was more like 1000 with the scoring pace that was going on and we slowly watched all the other teams around us move to the gutter to try urethane and plastic, but it was too late. We ended up winning the first Tier 1 of the season by 272 pins and it was probably the most satisfying win I have had in my 3 seasons with the program. Absolute selflessness on the lanes this weekend with non stop communication. It was the definition of team bowling and an absolute joy to be a part of.

I cannot wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us but one thing I am sure about is that we are ready for whatever challenges we need to face this season!!



One thought on “First Collegiate Tier 1 of the Season

  1. Taylor Brooks says:

    Matt we love the blog and what you do for the bowling community. We are avid bowlers ourselves and are trying to do the same thing by creating a web series around a bowling league called League Night. We need to get out to as much of the bowling audience and thought your blog would be a great way to do it. We are hosting an event this weekend in Gilbert, AZ, League Night Live, to promote the series and would love if you could be a part of it. We also have a good size social network that we can activate around via Instagram/Facebook/Twitter to promote your brand if you would do the same for us.

    Thank you and please contact me to discuss any opportunities.

    Taylor Brooks
    VP of Marketing
    Busted Buggy Entertainment

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