Wichita State Men, Webber Women Look To Defend Collegiate National Title Win
The Wichita State men will look for a record fourth consecutive national title, while second-year program Webber International will try to defend its women's championship when the United States Bowling Congress Intercollegiate Team Championships kick off April 21 in Columbus, Ga.
The defending champions in each division are among the 16 men's and 16 women's teams that advanced to the collegiate nationals, which will be conducted at AMF Peach Lanes.
Wichita State is coming off victories in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Intercollegiate Team Championships, which tied the record for the most consecutive wins. The Shockers also accomplished the feat in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
This time around, Wichita State enters the event as the No. 3-ranked team in the Team Ranking System and will face challenges from No. 1 Webber International and No. 2 Robert Morris (Illinois) in its quest for a fourth consecutive title.
On the women's side, Webber International won the title last year in the program's first season and enters the 2011 Intercollegiate Team Championships as the No. 7-ranked team.
Standing in the Warriors way of repeating as champions is No. 1 Wichita State, which is looking for its 10th national title. The Shockers have won the national title every other year since 2005 and will look to continue that trend.
The 32 teams that advanced to this year's national finals did so by surviving the largest regular-season field in the history of college bowling. The USBC Collegiate program grew at a rate of nearly 10 percent during the 2010-11 season. In all, 192 schools with 3,390 student-athletes competed this season, up from 177 schools and 3,112 student-athletes last season.
Intercollegiate Team Championships competition begins on Thursday, April 21 when all teams bowl two 16-game sessions of Baker-style play to establish match-play seeds. At the end of those 32 games, teams in both divisions (men's and women's) will be seeded by total pinfall into double-elimination brackets.
Best-of-seven match play will progress until only two teams remain in each division. Those teams will advance to the best-of-three championship round, which will be nationally televised events taped for airing Sunday, May 15 on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. Eastern.
Bowling fans will be able to watch free live streaming coverage of qualifying all the way through the semifinals the morning of Saturday, April 23 on BOWL.com. Coverage will begin at 8 a.m. Eastern each day of the event.
by Lucas Wiseman