David Borne | Staff Writer
It’s only the program’s second year, but the Duquesne bowling team has quickly put together a roster capable of competing with the best that the nation has to offer.
Head coach Jody Fetterhoff returned six players this season from the original seven that came to Duquesne as members of the program’s first recruiting class last year, and added three newcomers to the program this season.
Statistically, one of the most impressive of the newcomers this season is five-time Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week recipient, freshman Olivia Farwell. Behind the efforts of Farwell and her teammates, Duquesne, one of the nation’s youngest programs, rank 30th in the latest RPI Poll.
Duquesne’s proximity to Farwell’s home of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, played a large role in the freshman’s decision to relocate to the Bluff, but her instant connection with her current teammates was instrumental as well.
“The team out here, when I met them, we all fit together so well,” Farwell said. “Everything about the school made me feel comfortable here.”
Farwell, who has been bowling as long as she’s been walking, practically, “grew up in a bowling alley.” Clearview Lanes of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, specifically, has been under the operation of her family for generations. She spent as much time as she could during the school year at the alley, and was there nearly every day during the summer.
The trio of her mother, father and grandfather continuously worked with her on form and technique and, as a result, Farwell put together an extraordinary resume during her high school career.
Just a few of her accomplishments include winning District III, Eastern Regional (singles and team) and Pennsylvania State titles as a senior. Additionally, she averaged a 228.38 score as a senior in the Lancaster-Lebanon League and finished first in doubles scratch, fifth in all-events and tenth in singles at the 2017 Youth Open Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.
All of her practice and experience at the top level of high school competition has paid off. Farwell’s success has carried over to the collegiate level. She not only is the conference’s top newcomer so far, but is on the rapid climb to be one of the conference’s best bowlers in general.
During the recruiting process, people warned Farwell about the issues that could come with a young program. However, she and her teammates have embraced their roles as pioneers, and have exceeded expectations thus far.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for the school,” Farwell said, regarding the program’s success. “Even though we are a young team, we’re good for how young we are. I think a lot of big opportunities are coming our way.
“I knew coming into this that we would be a good team and compete well with other teams. As far as [personal success], I didn’t expect all this happening. But it’s definitely been a goal of mine since before I got here.”
The highlight of her short stint on the Bluff was her performance at the Kutztown Invitational, a 28-team event. Farwell posted the highest overall frame average of all NEC competitors and accounted for 22.27 pins per frame.
She made quite the introduction to the weekend, as well, as she threw the program’s first-ever 300 game in the team’s win over Medaille in its first traditional match. Farwell has rolled perfect games before, but this one resulted in a feeling like no other.
“It’s a lot. It was more nerve-wracking because it was college, Division I. I had never done it in high school, I had only shot 299s. To do it in college, it was an unreal feeling. It was a whole mix of emotions that go through you.”
Farwell mentioned that the pressure certainly builds as the match heads into its final frames, but she was able to remain calm enough to get the job done.
“I try not think about it as much as I can. I’ll talk to my teammates, joke around, just to clear my head before I go,” she said. “But probably from the seventh frame on, once I realize it and other teams around us realize what’s happening, then everybody gets quiet. Then you think about it a lot more.”
As the season enters its final stretch, Farwell made it clear that she has her eyes set on the NCAA National Tournament. However, a single’s appearance would mean so much more if her team qualified for the tournament as whole, as well.
“I definitely want to make nationals as far as singles. But I definitely want to go with the team there. I just want to do my best in the tournaments, but also have much success with the team.”
Only time will tell how far Farwell and her Duquesne teammates can go, but as of now, they are certainly headed in the right direction in only their second year of competition.