HIGHLAND — Neither Calumet College of St. Joseph bowling team reached the final six of the NAIA team championships Sunday at Plaza Lanes in Highland, but that doesn’t mean nothing was gained in the first major tournament hosted at the home where the women’s team practices.
“In my mind, this has been a huge success,” Crimson Wave women’s coach Randy Vania said. “This is great, to have it in our backyard. I’m glad we could give some of our local crowd, who don’t always have the opportunity to travel 300 miles to come see us, the chance to come see us. Hopefully, we gave them some satisfaction in winning a couple matches.”
Weber International men and Pikeville women took home top honors, respectively.
The CCSJ women won two matches Saturday before falling just short of qualifying for Sunday. The men’s team lost its first two matches and were done by lunchtime Saturday.
Vania still found the tournament to be a fitting cap for his team at the conclusion of an up and down season.
“Honestly, we actually had a really good season if you look at all of our results historically,” he said. “When you include this weekend, being pushed to the limit after losing your first match and extending things to (nearly making the Sunday rounds), this season absolutely was a success.”
The coach heads out on the recruiting trail to replace a six-member senior class. He has only one commit, at the moment.
“All of my seniors, they’re really intelligent. They don’t always execute like they can but they gave us maturity, intelligence, they really adapt to the game and the nuance. I’m really going to miss them,” Vania said. “I have the easy part. They have to be done with this. I’m not.”
For the Crimson Wave men, this event was a warm up for the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships in Nebraska next month.
“They wanted the lane to change because they’re used to the lane changing,” men's coach Mike Kubacki said. “This is one of those patterns that you don’t actually worry about what the lane is doing as much as you worry about what you’re doing. If you command the lane with your speed, if you understand your technique, there’s a good chance that strategy will work.”
This is the 12th consecutive season the CCSJ men have qualified for the ITC, the longest active streak in the country. The Wave hope to use the opportunity to clean the bad taste out of their mouth left by a disappointing weekend.
“We’re still trying to figure out exactly what happened, exactly what we didn’t see or didn’t execute. We’re still not 100 percent sure,” Kubacki said. “We’re a little snakebit.”
Calumet College came into the NAIA team championships ranked No. 1 nationally, having won a pair of Tier I events and a first-place finish at the Intercollegiate Team Sectional. The ITS is the regional qualifier for the ITC.
“We know this is our challenge,” Kubacki said. “We have to agree on what we have to do better before we can fix it, and we’re still pretty confused about what happened on the lanes (this weekend).”