Article by Johan Englen
The past few weeks have been busy for the men’s bowling team at Drury University. With just two tournaments under their belt and a whole season ahead of them, the men’s bowling team has their work cut out for them.
A recap of the season, so far
On Sunday Oct. 22, the Drury University men’s bowling team participated in their first tournament of the season at the Andy B’s Panther Invitational in Springfield.
They placed fourth in a total eight team field. The panthers played 40 Baker-style matches and scored a total of 7,217 points, making the team’s average points-per-game 180. Iowa Central Community College took first place on the day.
The following weekend, Oct. 28-29, the men had another tournament in Saint Charles, Mo.
“[We] really hung in mentally being that for three of the team members it was their first away collegiate tournament,” explained Ted Barbee, head coach of men’s bowling. “The format made for a long day and really tests your mental focus over seven games. We competed against a strong field and held our own.”
The bowling program at Drury is in its infancy. Last year was the bowling team’s freshman season. At that point, the program consisted of one mixed team that was officially considered a men’s team. Starting this season, though, the team split into two separate teams based on gender. The women’s team is classified as an NCAAII team because of Title IX rules. Those same rules still classify the men’s team as a school club.
“We’re going to do fairly well,” explained Cole Stillman, a freshman from Arkansas. “We have a little more experience this year because we have some returning members. Last year there was a lot of freshman. We have some people who have a lot of experience at tournaments. We’re fairly good, but we still have a lot of work to do to be able to go after a national championship, which is our main goal.”
Stillman sees returning team players Mathew Hicks and Kyle Dauphin as the bowlers to look out for this season. Both have had success on the adult field. Barbee agrees.
“Kyle Dauphin is leading the team in average [points]. He is a consistent spare shooter and provides energy to the team,” explained Barbee. “Matt Hicks is one to look out for, also. He throws the ball great and will post some big games this year.”
Stillman is also confident of his own performance in the coming season.
“I feel like I’m going to do very well considering the fact that I have team experience,” said Stillman. “I was in a high school where we won five straight high school state championships in Arkansas.”
Barbee added, “Cole Stillman is very accurate, a great spare shooter and with some added strikes, will put up some big numbers.”
As a team Barbee said that the team excels in the areas of preparation, dedication, unity and shot-making. Though he does admit they could use more experience.
Barbee mentioned some of the better teams to watch out for at tournaments this season will be McKendree, Wichita State and Lindenwood.
The team’s next tournament will be held Nov. 18-19 in Hastings, Neb. at the Broncos Open. More information about their schedule can be found on the Drury athletics website.