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The Wright State University bowling program is approaching the home stretch of the regular season in its inaugural season as an NCAA collegiate program.
About the team
WSU announced last April that the women’s bowling team would make the transition from club to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Head coach Jeff Fleck, who is on season 17 at WSU, leads the Raider team, the first at the NCAA level. Assistant coach Colleen McKee joins Fleck.
Though the Raiders have made the move to NCAA, the bowlers remain without a conference. The Horizon League only features WSU and Younstown State with bowling programs. Outside of the HL, there are only five programs in Ohio and just under 100 nationally.
“Our goal is to join an already existing conference,” McKee mentioned. “The Dayton area is big for bowling but has not been for NCAA bowling yet; I think that is coming in the next few years.”
The team is eligible to compete in the United States Bowling Congress tournament, where many teams from different divisions compete.
Junior Alexandra Drsek has competed at WSU both on the club team and the NCAA team and has noticed the increased commitment from this transition.
“My time management has to be so good,” Drsek mentioned. “We have lifting, study tables, practice three days a week and out-of-town four days a week.”
A young squad
The team features eight freshmen, allowing the team to continue building and making strides in the coming years. Drsek commented on this young team.
“We are all learning how to bowl in the NCAA together,” Drsek added.
Anna Johns is a freshman at WSU and joined the team after becoming a Raider. Johns did not compete in high school outside of club, making this season a personal first on a team through a school.
“I feel like I improved a lot since I came here, especially since this is the first time I have gotten real coaching,” Johns stated. “There was a lot of pressure in the beginning, but now it is more fun than anything.”
Looking to the future
Makenzie Gossett is a sophomore at WSU who has one year of experience with the club team and the new NCAA squad. Gossett, along with other team members, have a clear-eyed view for what the team wants to achieve: making it back to nationals.
The Raiders recently won the national title for the club in 2019 after winning the title in 2015. When comparing the competition between now and last year, WSU is seeing a lot of familiar faces.
“I don’t think the competition is much stiffer, but we see a lot of the better teams more often,” Gossett added.
WSU is set to play in the Flyer Classic tournament this past weekend in Lockport, Illinois, where twenty different teams competed.
“Our goal here is to do as best we can to stay in the top 64 ranked to go to sectionals,” Gossett said.
Following this weekend’s tournament, WSU will compete in the Mounties Roundup tournament, beginning on March 4.