Newman bowling finishes strong but hopes for more

By: Matthew Revels, Sports Editor

The season has come to an end for men’s and women’s bowling, and though neither team made it to postseason play, coach Billy Murphy said he wants to push all of his bowlers to keep improving.

“(Both teams) just really keep needing to get better at all parts of the sport,” Murphy said. “We made a big jump mentally this year. Now the physical part of the game just needs to get more consistent.”

The men finished their season in Dallas, where the Jets fell 43 pins short of the cut to get to regionals.

Senior James McIver had positive things to say about his team's season.

“Overall, the season went pretty well,” he said. “We had a couple tournaments (where) we should have scored higher, but as a whole, the season was good. The two freshmen, Noah Akiona and Zach Smullen, showed what they could do all year, and they are going to be dangerous next year.”

The team finished in the top five in six of its tournaments and finished second in three others. It also took first place in the Jayhawk Classic Oct. 29-30 in Lawrence.

“The biggest strength is the team chemistry. This team really does feel like a family,” McIver said. “We're really out there just having a great time, and it helps boost the scores.”

Murphy said he has high hopes for the team next year.

“The goal is always to compete for a national title, and we will continue to strive to be a program that is on the national scene and competes at a high level,” Murphy said.

The women's team put on a show during its first year as NCAA members. The Jets finished the season with 71 wins and were the Greater Lakes Valley conference runners up. The team finished the season ranked 13th in the nation and barely missed making the national tournament.

Senior Morgan Cooper said she was proud of her team and thought it did well for its first year in the NCAA.

“Being a first-year program, no one really knew what to expect. Although the season did not end with a national championship appearance, we were in the conversation to be selected by the selection committee,” Cooper said. “This is something that is not common for first-year programs, so it was nice to know that we are already being recognized as a top program.”

Just like the men’s team, the women’s team pushed forward and let its strengths shine through, Cooper said.

“With bowling in the NCAA now, our travel times are much longer than they have been in previous years. I feel that our biggest strength this season was our team chemistry and communication,” Cooper said.

Photo: Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics