The rejuvenated athletics program at Lawrence Technological University passed an important milestone when the men’s varsity bowling team tied for first place in the regular season standings of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC).
LTU is a member of the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association and most of its athletic teams compete in the WHAC.
In just its second season, the men’s LTU bowling team reached the top of the standings by winning the fourth WHAC Bowling Jamboree hosted by Indiana Institute of Technology on Jan. 4. The team is nationally ranked by www.collegebowling.com.
The men’s team has already achieved its goal set at the start of the season of qualifying for the national invitational collegiate tournament run by the U.S. Bowling Congress. The top 80 teams in the country are invited, and last season LTU finished 89th in the national rankings. This year’s team has already amassed enough points to make the cut.
LTU finished in a first-place tie with Davenport College. Both teams won two of the four WHAC tournaments. Davenport was also first in women’s bowling, while the Lady Blue Devils finished the regular season in third place.
So far the freshmen are leading the way for the men’s team. “I had a very good recruiting season. Once you get one great bowler, others seem to come,” said Head Coach Bryan Bressler.
Freshman Blake Nottle (Macomb Twp., MI) was the key recruit this year. He finished ninth in the national junior tournament for bowlers under 20.
In the Jan. 4 tournament, 12 Blue Devils finished in the top 50 out of 76 bowlers in the men’s individual competition. Freshman Brian Busch (Sterling Heights, MI) led LTU by placing second with a 244.75 average in a four-game set.
Nottle finished fourth with an average of 224. Eric Pavlov (Livonia, MI) placed 13th with a 217.25 average, and freshman Jerome Penxa II (Romeo, MI) placed 16th with a 213.75 average.
The other Blue Devils finishing in the top 50 were sophomore Nick Mikealian (Macomb Twp., MI), sophomore Maxwell Alestra (South Lyon, MI), freshman Rob Karas (Wyoming, MI), sophomore Henry Huvaere II (Grand Rapids, MI) and junior Justin Clark (Chesterfield, MI).
Eric PavloNottle finished fourth with an average of 224. Eric Pavlov (Livonia, MI) placed 13th with a 217.25 average, and freshman Jerome Penxa II (Romeo, MI) placed 16th with a 213.75 average.
Lawrence Tech has an interesting mix of true freshmen, transfer students and upper classmen. Several players already knew each other from previous competition, and that has made it easier for Bressler to get the bowlers to think of themselves as a team.
A major challenge for competitive bowlers is to adjust to the lane conditions at different venues and then keep up with changes that occur during the course of a tournament that typically runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. That’s where good communication between teammates can make a difference, according to the coach.
“The LTU Men’s Varsity Team is bowling with more confidence, communication, and a never-give-up attitude,” Bressler said.
The Blue Devils will be back in action on Jan. 18-19 at the Kegel ISBPA Midwest Collegiate Classic in Addison, IL.