By: Joey Schneider, KCOU Sports
Just months into their first season of action, the Missouri Tigers Club Bowling team will take place in their first out-of-state tournament over the weekend. Eight bowlers will travel to Terre Haute Bowling Center in Indiana to participate in a two-day tournament that runs through Sunday.
Thirteen men’s teams and seven women’s teams will square off in this competition. All contenders receive a share of $6,000 donated for this event, but each team’s scholarship earnings are determined by their position in the tournament standings.
“I want some other teams to start looking over at us and notice that the University of Missouri has a bowling team,” said co-founder Mike Rodgers. “With every tournament, I hope a couple more heads turn our way and maybe have a couple more pins fall our way too.”
On Saturday, the team will play in 16 Baker-style games and 4 individual team games. The Baker-style format allows five members to alternate turns and bowl essentially two frames each for a combined score. The individual games allow five bowlers on each team to roll ten complete frames, and the total pinfall between all events will determine each team’s rank in the bracket for Sunday.
“The goal of the Baker-style tournament is to get an average around 180-190 and earn a top seed,” said Rodgers. “If you’re a higher seed going into Sunday you can get byes in the bracket and have a better chance of winning.”
Since Mizzou does not fund the club bowling team, it took several individual efforts to make the trip affordable. The team raised some supply through fundraising events at Shakespeare’s, but many expenses came out of pocket for the travelers.
“It took a lot of sacrifice by a lot of our team members to get us [to Indiana],” said Rodgers. “There’s a couple fundraisers that supported us, but we had to use a lot of our own money for this tournament.”
Preparation hasn’t been overly difficult for the team otherwise. Six of the travelers have maintained a league average over 150, and many from that same group have devoted extra time to make improvements.
“Bowling is a pretty mental sport and by attending this tournament it gets our team exposed,” said freshman Zach Tallevast. “Other than getting our mindset ready, we’ve just been practicing reps every other day [this semester].”
In its inaugural season Mizzou Club Bowling has not only gained enough interest to participate in tournaments, but also to hold league play. Over 20 bowlers regularly meet at AMF Town & Country Lanes every Thursday night, allowing the team to seek tournament opportunities.
“Our No. 1 success [this season] is the growth that we’ve had,” said club vice-president Derick Elkin. “We exceeded our original goal of bowling in a competition this year, but we don’t want to get complacent with that and hope to keep pushing for more.”
Elkin will not be traveling with the team to Terre Haute, but recognizes the improvements that opened Mizzou’s opportunities. Mizzou Club Bowling plans to stay involved with at least one more tournament this semester.
“I think that we can compete and win in this tournament,” said Elkin. “We’ve come a lot further than we’ve expected and every single person has grown as a bowler.”