VINCENNES, Ind. - The Vincennes University bowling program has undergone extensive changes flowing into the 2019-2020 season. From mental game classes to upgraded workout regiments and on-lane practices, the team has continued to improve the process that has given the program so much success.
The kickoff to the Trailblazers season began Sept. 28 in Muncie, Indiana at the Cardinal Classic. This was VU's first showing at the Cardinal Classic. Munsee Lanes houses wood lanes, a unique surface to college bowling as most collegiate events are held on synthetics. A format of 40 baker games over two days would determine the winner.
Day 1 - The Trailblazers chiseled their way through the 45-foot oil pattern to get themselves into fourth place with a total score of 4308 for 24 games.
Day 2 - Proving to be more challenging, the 2nd run of the pattern gave the left-handed bowlers a bit more adversity. The lanes called for a few different methods of attack and lane to lane played very different. This made it a bit harder to string strikes and overall made the team press a little harder to score. At the conclusion of the event, the Blazers finished fifth out of 17 teams with a total score of 6987 for 40 games.
Midwest Collegiate Classic
The 2nd event of the season was held at Bowlero Lanes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Oct. 5-6. This was the first tier 1 of the 10-event schedule and was comprised of a tougher field of teams.
Day 1 - The Blazers continued to implement their mind set of process and execution and demonstrated an overall improvement in these areas. After the first day the men were sitting 18th out of 40 teams with 16 baker games to follow on Sunday. Leading the effort in scoring was Joshua Taylor (Indianapolis, Indiana) with a 215.3 average followed by Connor Hickey (Anderson, Indiana) with a 189.8 average and Michael Whiteside (Lake Station, Illinois) with a 188.3 average.
Day 2 - The day started off with a 4-game set of 716, followed by 823, 804, and 728. Throughout the day the Trailblazer men fluctuated several positions with the highest being 14th going into the last set. At the conclusion of the event the men were left with a 17th place finish.
Orange and Black Classic
The Trailblazers traveled to Dayton, Ohio for event number 3 of the season at the Orange and Black Classic Oct. 12-13.
Day 1 - The Blazers began with 5 sets of team games and started off hot after set 1 with a 1085 and were sitting in 2nd in the 33 team field. Set 2 was the low set on the day with 933 impart to open frames in key areas. Set 3 presented a new challenge that really made the lanes play completely different from what they had been. The team responded a little later than they would've liked but ultimately saved the set posting a 969. They rounded out the day with sets of 959 and 933 sitting in 10th place. Junior Joshua Taylor (Indianapolis, Indiana) and Michael Whiteside (Lake Station, Illinois) led the team in average with 212 each for the 5 game set.
Day 2 - After a slow start in the 16 game baker format, the men kicked it into high gear to start making up ground on the field. The Blazers put up 4 game sets of 758, 784, 879, and 759. After a strong fought Sunday, VU ended in a ninth-place finish out of the 33-team field.
Mid States Classic
The Trailblazers longest trip of the year lead to the 2nd Tier 1 event of the season in Wichita, Kansas Oct. 19-22. This was the Blazers first trip to this event and relatively new territory for the young class.
Day 1 - Going into the event the oil pattern used to dress the lanes was kept confidential up until the start of the event. The directors announced the distance and volume as well as added in the creator of the pattern, Nick Hogland. He designs patterns for both collegiate and professional level play and they are known to be both challenging, but scorable with the right plan of attack. If you let the pattern take control it can turn out quite difficult as the team figured out posting sets of 811, 884, 913, 879, 904, and 898 which averaged out the team at just over 176 per game. This left the Blazers sitting in 18th out of the 34 team field in day 1.
Day 2 - This was contested with 20 baker games. The team needed a big day to get into the hunt and that required a new strategy walking in the door. After a hot start of 242 game 1, the men ended up with a set of 750. A reasonable set considering the conditions and a much better plan of attack from the start aided this. Once the team moved onto the next set of lanes, a change in focus along with struggles in execution lead to a tough set of 602. After regrouping and getting some of that focus back on track the men were able to put together sets of 763, 784, and 674. This allowed the team to gain a position in the standings and leave with 17th-place finish.
Brunswick Southern Collegiate Classic
The Trailblazer bowling program made its way to Atlanta, Georgia Nov. 2-3 to compete in the third and final tier 1 event of the first part of the season.
Day 1 - The men competed against a 34 team field which began with a 6-team game block. A shaky start to the day lead to the Blazers posting sets of 930 and 827. A quick change in strategy got the ball rolling going into set 3 as the men grinded a 961 followed by a respectable 1042 and 1092. The men ended their day 1 with a set of 913 which didn't affect overall standings moving into day 2. Joshua Taylor lead the Trailblazers with a score of 1281 for 6 games and an average of 213.
Day 2 - The men began the day sitting in 12th out of the 34 team field and had a 24 baker game format to make up ground. The effort started out with a set of 727 with games of 175, 201, 186 and 165. The following sets only continued to give the blazers more trouble in the effort of finding proper ball reaction and filling frames. Sets 2 and 3 were 649 and 675 respectively. Set 4 brought on a few better shots and better ball reaction as a whole but unfortunately paired up with 9 missed makeables that still gave the blazers their high set of the day with 760. Sets of 700 and 742 in set 5 and 6 finished the day and gave the Trailblazer men a 14th place finish in the 34-team field.
VU Bowling Coach Jesse Gibson says. . .
"This year's team has been presented with a challenge we have yet to truly embrace and overcome. To be a competitive program in today's game it requires so much more than throwing a ball. We continuously adapt our program to develop our process and reclaim our title as one of the best programs in the nation. With change comes bumps in the road and that's to be expected. I am confident that once the buy-in factor is there for this new process that the program here will once again shine. Our next event will be in Moline, Illinois at the Leatherneck Classic where we will put all of this work to a test."
Contact: Jesse Gibson
VU Bowling Lanes Manager
Men's Varsity Bowling Coach
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Vincennes University Newsroom
Vincennes University Trailblazer Athletics
MARCIA MARTINEZ, Sports Information Director & University Life Reporter
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VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom