By Andrew White | Staff Writer
A new era of Duquesne athletics commenced on Oct. 15 as the women’s bowling team competed for the first time in school history.
The Dukes had a good weekend, going 7-3 and finishing eighth out of 18 teams in the two-day tournament including a win over nationally ranked Kutztown University. The one leading this team to an impressive inaugural tournament was freshman anchor Kelsey Hackbart, who bowled a 210 to help the Dukes stun the No. 17 Golden Bears 922-775.
That wasn’t the end of the achievements for Hackbart either. The right hander knocked down 1,065 total pins in the tournament, while averaging 213 pins per game. That average placed her fourth in the tournament and just 5 pins short of second place.
In addition to her fourth-place finish, Hackbart was named to the All-Tournament team as well as the NEC Rookie of the Week.
Hackbart, who grew up in Bristol, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, started bowling at AMF Bristol Pike Lanes at the age of 4. Her love for bowling stems from her family, as both her parents have bowled most of their lives as well. Kelsey credits her father and her family for her success.
“My dad really influenced my decision to bowl; he was a pretty good bowler and I feel like he could have gone pro if he wanted to,” Hackbart said. “He is the one that pushes me to do better. Without my family I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Hackbart attended Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown, Pennsylvania. During her time for the Tigers she was a three sport athlete who earned 12 varsity letters over her four years. Besides bowling, Hackbart also played field hockey and was a star softball player. The multi-sport athlete wishes she could still play softball, but realized she had to make a choice.
“I went to a couple of college showcases for softball, but I love bowling and knew I would rather bowl in college,” Hackbart said.
Between the three sports, school and work, Hackbart always made sure to keep herself busy, saying there were many nights she would leave at 6:30 a.m. and not get back home until 11 p.m.
Hackbart had a few offers but chose Duquesne in late April.
“I love it here, I love the campus and I love the coach,” Hackbart said. “It was a really good opportunity for me, and I couldn’t pass up on it.”
The freshman is no stranger to success. As the anchor for all four years, she led the Tigers to a Pennsylvania State District One Title her junior year, while being named the Bucks County Times Golden Team Bowler of the Year her freshman, junior and senior years. After winning the individual district championship her senior year Hackbart just missed winning the individual state championship, coming in second by 11 pins. Outside of school, she has also won a Junior Bowlers Tour tournament.
Although her career had been filled with success, Hackbart did not expect to have this much success right away going into college.
“It was a lot of pressure bowling in Duquesne’s first ever tournament,” Hackbart said. “I was definitely not expecting to do this well against other girls with a lot of experience.”
Hackbart credits her coaches for the early achievements.
“They have been great, helping me find my line, switch balls, telling me where to move and what to do,” she said. “They were a big part of my success.”
Hackbart and the rest of Duquesne’s inaugural team look to keep the ball rolling this weekend when they head over to New Jersey for the FDU Jamboree.