Homegrown talent has sparked success at Urbana University.
The Blue Knights men’s and women’s bowling teams recently placed second at the University of Pikeville Orange & Black Classic Tournament. Junior Graham Fach placed fourth as an individual while freshman Maude Demers was Urbana’s highest placing woman in 12th.
The men’s success is a continuation of last season when the Blue Knights finished in the top 10 in every tournament. In only their fifth season of collegiate play, the Urbana men were ranked as high as 10th nationally last year. And junior Brock Finch finished second at the United States Bowling Congress Intercollegiate Singles Championship in April.
“Some people haven’t heard of Urbana University, much less Urbana University bowling, but we’re trying to change that,” coach Phil Baker said.
Despite the Blue Knights being relative newcomers to the collegiate bowling ranks, Baker has resisted joining a conference.
“I want to be able to bowl the best teams in the country whether they are in our conference or not,” he said.
The Blue Knights compete in 10 tournaments a year, five of which are highly competitive tier 1 events. The men are fielding three teams this season with a 24-bowler roster while the women have 12 bowlers and two squads.
Centerville graduate Kyle Cook is one of several local bowlers who are making an impact for Urbana. The freshman finished 15th individually at the Orange & Black Classic
“The level of competition is very high,” Cook said of collegiate bowling. “It’s all about whose hot on that day.
“Our ultimate goal is to win every event we bowl in but, as we continue to improve, we will also continue to get our name out there.”
Some of Cook’s high school rivals are now teammates as freshmen Daulton Cooper (Fairmont) and Kyle Beers (Kenton Ridge) as well as sophomore Chase Carter (Stebbins) all bowl for the Blue Knights. The Springfield area is well represented on the Urbana roster with Scott and Jeff Godby (Greenon), Trey Cooper (Southeastern) and Eric Gullett (Northeastern).
Both the men’s and women’s teams will remain largely intact next season as there is not a single senior in the varsity lineup. The women’s varsity team, in fact, is comprised entirely of freshmen and sophomores.
• Next up: Urbana will compete in the Raider Classic Bowling Tournament Nov. 9-10. The women will bowl at Poelking Woodman Lanes while the men will compete at Beaver-Vu Bowl in the two-day Wright State University event. For more information, visit www.raidersbowling.com.