By Daniel Popoloski
For the third time in four years, William Paterson’s bowling team is headed back to the Division III Intercollegiate Bowling National Championships.
The bowling team, headlined by all-conference bowlers Jake Rollins, Steve Greco, Mike Warman and Steve Kotowski, has won all four northeast tournaments, and comes into the national tournament with legitimate title hopes. The national championships feature club teams from all three of the NCAA’s three divisions, and will have 16 teams in Wichita, Kan. Head Coach, Greg Hatzisavvas, was named conference coach of the year and is hoping to lead his team to a another national championship.
In the qualifier for the national championship last month, the Pioneers trailed the cut by 241 pins going into the mid-day break. However, they came out rolling afterwards, bowling the highest score over 16 games in collegiate bowling history, with a 440. That mark was the highest ever for that stretch since the current qualifying system was adopted in 2000.
The unprecedented run vaulted the squad back into the national championships. Having the ability to go off on record breaking runs will help keep WPU in contention no matter how far back they might get in the future.
Before the team qualifier was held, the singles qualifier took place and saw Pioneer bowler Brandon Runk, a recent transfer, qualify for the National Intercollegiate Singles Tournament. Runk placed fourth out of 158 bowlers in the qualifier, averaging over a 184 in his final six games, to clinch his spot in the field of 24 bowlers in the final stage.
Next week, before the Intercollegiate National Championships on April 20th, the Pioneers will take part in the Intercollegiate Club Bowling Championships. WPU has the second most tournament appearances in college history, making 16 of the 34 tourneys.