Women’s Bowling: No. 6 ranked bowlers compete at nationals

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By Justin Woodard

After winning their first ever tournament in the program’s history in New York earlier in the season, the Warhawks splashed the record book pages once again this past weekend making it to the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history.

The ‘Hawks went 4-3 in the qualifying rounds held this past Thursday at the Superbowl Lanes in Detroit, Mich. and they were the No. 4 seed heading into matches on Friday.  After defeating the two-time defending champions in Maryland-Eastern Shore on Thursday, the ‘Hawks fell short against them in the first round on Friday.  They had a chance to redeem themselves in the second round against No. 8 seed Central Missouri, but the girls came up short again and were eliminated from the tournament.

In bowling, all three collegiate divisions combine to compete for a single championship.  UW-Whitewater was the only division III or division II team to qualify for the Championships. 

Despite falling short at the Championships, junior bowler Katie Zwiefelhofer was still very pleased with her team’s production all season long.

“It felt amazing to know that all of our hard work and dedication paid off,” Zwiefelhofer said.  “To get invited to compete with the best in the nation felt really good in itself.”

Melissa Molbeck, junior teammate of Zwiefelhofer, expressed the team’s want to continue their success for years to come. 

“We are hungry for more next year,” Molbeck said.  “We know making it to the NCAA Championships was an accomplishment in itself being the only D3 school there, but we want more.”

While the ‘Hawks have another year to improve for the next NCAA Championships, they have less than a week to prepare for the United States Bowling Congress Championships held between April 18-21 in Lincoln, Neb.  As bowlers, Zwiefelhofer says they should be able to move from tournament to tournament without thinking about the past. 

“We will put NCAA Nationals behind us and refocus and set new goals to be successful at the USBC Nationals,” Zwiefelhofer said.  “It is a brand new tournament with a whole new field of teams so we will take our experiences from this week and learn from them to better ourselves for next week.”

Head coach Leann Eimermann, who won Coach of the Year honors this season in only her second season as head coach, expressed the idea that this team was very young and with all the new recruits coming in next year the experience gained this year will be helpful. 

“We have a relatively young team this year so the tournament was a completely different environment,” Eimermann said.  “Being a part of a championship experience will help us be better long term.”

After getting their feet wet on the big stage, Molbeck and company look forward to another shot to compete for a championship next season.

“We are only losing two people and getting in a lot of new recruits so I have high expectations,” Molbeck said.  “I hope we all learned what we need to do for next year to not only be in the top eight again, but be ranked higher and set higher goals to accomplish.”