By Andrew Holman | Sports Editor
The Duquesne bowling team took to the lanes at the Bud Whitman Memorial last weekend — the program’s first tournament as a newly established NCAA Division I member.
The two-day memorial tournament featured 18 teams, including a few schools listed in the Top 25 of the National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) Poll. Duquesne finished eighth out of 18 with a record of 7-3 and landed three bowlers inside the top 30 individually.
“I am very impressed with them and I am very excited for the rest of the season, because after day two — they are ahead of where I thought they were going to be,” head coach Jody Fetterhoff said.
On day one of the Bud Whitman Memorial, Duquesne took part in five baker matches in which they came away with a 3-2 record and knocked down 4,214 total pins. These matches are played by five bowlers from each time who each bowl two frames apiece. Freshman Lauren Mayberry had the honor of sending the inaugural shot down the lane to secure her place in Duquesne bowling history.
Fellow freshman Kelsey Hackbart captured Duquesne’s best individual round score (246) in an 877-841 win over Howard on day two. A 922-775 beatdown of No. 17 Kutztown highlighted the second day of competition for Duquesne. The Red & Blue finished the second day of competition with a 4-1 record in traditional games and improved their pin total by 387 pins from the first day to the second (4,601). Traditional games allow each member of the team to bowl all ten frames, and team scores are determined by total pins.
“We struggled a little bit Saturday and then Sunday, I mean, we bowled almost 400 pins better and it was the same exact pattern,” Fetterhoff said. “You never know how freshmen are going to respond to that and they responded amazingly, so I am very happy.”
Duquesne’s current roster is composed of six freshmen and just one upperclassman. With a brand new team, Fetterhoff expected to have to put a lot of effort and time into team bonding. However, roughly three weeks into training, one of the incoming freshmen was sidelined by an unfortunate medical condition. The news quickly brought the Duquesne bowling team together in a tough time.
“This team is so mentally tough,” Fetterhoff said. “It’s going to be a long season and they’re young, but they are kind of prepared for anything.”
A mere two weeks ago, Fetterhoff brought the lone upperclassmen, junior Cassidy Powers, into the program, and she has already left her mark.
Outside the lanes, Powers leads with her actions. An athletic training major with a rigorous workload, Powers still finds ways to manage her time well enough to maintain top-notch grades and compete at a high level. Fetterhoff sees Powers as a natural leader who has shown the freshmen how to balance the challenges that student athletes face.
“It has been a very rapid transition into the student athlete life, but I am blessed to have the opportunity,” Powers said. “As the only upperclassman, I hope to bring some sense of maturity and balance to the team. Being in my third year of college and already experiencing the ups and downs, I hope to pass along what I have learned to make this transition smoother for the younger players.”
After taking nearly three years off from competitive bowling and getting just two weeks to train, Powers managed to finish third on the team at the Bud Whitman Memorial and was among the tournament’s top 30 finishers.
Teammates Hackbart and Mayberry also claimed spots in the top 30. Hackbart was also named to the All-Tournament team by finishing fourth overall. The talented freshman knocked over a total of 1,065 pins and averaged a 213 score over the course of the two-day tournament. She was also the highest finishing freshman in the competition leading her to NEC Rookie of the Week honors.
Hackbart placed second at Pennsylvania States in the Spring of 2016, but didn’t get as much attention as she might have deserved from the recruiting world. Aside from the addition of Powers during the school year, Hackbart was the latest recruit that Fetterhoff signed, which was puzzling to her.
“I don’t know how she fell so far under the radar because she is a phenomenal bowler,” Fetterhoff said. “She is just a really good kid.”
Nonetheless, Fetterhoff is pleased to have Hackbart and the rest of her teammates as she looks to build the Duquesne bowling program. The Dukes will not host an event in their inaugural season, but Fetterhoff hopes to host an NEC Conference event sometime in the next few years.
For now, the first year head coach is very proud of where her team stands, saying she already needs to re-evaluate her goals for her team after watching them compete for the first time. The Dukes will next take part in the FDU Jamboree beginning on Oct. 28.