Early in its second season as a varsity program, the Lawrence Technological University Men’s Bowling Team has risen to #14 on a list of top college bowling teams in the country on the strength of its first tournament victory on Nov. 16.
The national rankings can be found at http://www.collegebowling.com/rankings/pwrrank.asp?PwrRank=2013M091.
LTU is a member of the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association and most of its athletic teams compete in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC). LTU will host the next WHAC tournament on December 7 at Country Lanes in Farmington Hills.
Seven teams competed in the tournament hosted by Aquinas College in Grand Rapids on Nov. 16. LTU won with a team average of 1030. The University of Northwestern Ohio finished second with a team average of 1009, and Davenport University was third with an average of 997.
The LTU Blue Devils were led by freshman Blake Nottle (Macomb Township, MI) who finished in second place with a 232 average. He was a single pin behind the tournament’s top bowler, Andrew Anderson of Davenport.
Five other Blue Devils finished in the top 25 in the recent tournament in Grand Rapids.
Freshman Brian Busch (Sterling Heights, MI) was fifth with a 213.25 average; freshman Jeff Pietryka (Clinton Township, MI) finished ninth with an average of 204; sophomore Henry Huvaere II (Grand Rapids, MI) placed 13th with a 199.50 average; sophomore Eric Pavlov (Livonia, MI) was 19th with a 195.5 average; and junior Scott Kujawa (New Hudson, MI) was 23rd with a 189.75 average.
At the start of the season the team’s goal was to qualify 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 is virtually assured of making the cut, given the points it has already amassed in the early going.
So far the freshmen are leading the way. “I had a very good recruiting season. Once you get one great bowler, others seem to come,” said Head coach Bryan Bressler (firstname.lastname@example.org, 248-895-6595).
Nottle was the key recruit this year. He finished ninth in the national junior tournament for bowlers under 20.
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.
“Right now they’re getting better and better, which is really exciting because we’re just about halfway through the season,” Bressler said.