By: Victor Dixon, A&E Editor
The men’s and women’s bowling teams are both filled with a dynamic group of athletes to watch, their coach says, even though the season so far has been a mixed bag.
“Making it to nationals at the end of the year is the expectation for our [men’s] group, but on the ladies’ side, we’re pretty young,” said Coach Billy Murphy. “We won the first tournament of the year, which was a wonderful surprise, then we bowled this weekend and we did not compete as well. We won more matches than we lost, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The bowling season started in October and has thrown a few curves at both teams, Murphy said, especially the new members.
“I honestly tried to come into my freshman year with as little expectations as possible and just tried to take in the experience like a blank canvas,” said freshman bowler Deqlan Mitchell. “Because college bowling is so different, a lot of the things I’ve learned in my 14 years of bowling aren’t really applicable. I’ve had to readjust to an entirely new mindset and abandon how I used to approach competitions.”
Neither team has quite been bowling to its full potential yet this season, but Murphy said he recognizes that both are capable of great things with more practice.
The men’s team this year includes already proven players, including returning sophomore Noah Akiona, who earned the title of All-American during last year’s season. The women’s team, however, will likely be less predictable, with different players bowling at the top of their game each weekend, Murphy said.
The team tries hard to maintain a welcoming and accepting culture, Murphy said, and Mitchell said he can feel that.
“Having a group of people that will always support me, that I can rely on both inside and outside of bowling has made my freshman year so much smoother than I anticipated,” Mitchell said. “Getting to learn and collaborate with them makes me feel extremely welcomed.”
The men’s bowling team will next compete Nov. 11-12 in Moline, Illinois, and the women’s team will compete Friday through Sunday in Houston.
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Newman Athletics