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Bowling: Imhoff, Esquer set single-game record

Oklahoma Christian University made its first incursion into the club sports playing field with the addition of the men’s and women’s bowling teams in 2018. In their first semester of organized competition, the Eagles found immediate success and have continued to act as trailblazers pioneering their way through club sports.

In the first two tournaments since returning for the spring season, the men’s team placed first and fourth, respectively.

Freshman Josh Imhoff led the men’s team to its first program title in school history at the Southwest Intercollegiate Bowling Circuit (SWIBC) V bowling five individual games of 212 or greater and setting a school record by rolling 277 in his second game. With his performance, Imhoff came away with his second individual tournament title and was joined by freshman Sam Butler on the all-tournament team.

Imhoff said success in his first game gave him an edge for the rest of the competition.

I got off to a really good start with a 267, which gave me more confidence going into the rest of the day,” Imhoff said. “Game three I shot a 277 and the rest is history. I averaged 244 for the day, which landed me in first place for individuals.”

After his performance, Imhoff was named “Eagle of the Week” for the second time this academic year. He said his success goes beyond the individual mark because the team has battled it out with the best.

“We came in as all freshmen who had never bowled in a collegiate tournament before,” Imhoff said. “At one point, we bowled against Wichita State, a multiple national championship-winning team, and took them to the third game earlier in the season. We’ve progressively made improvements, and we’ve been able to compete with the best.”

In an interview with the sports information office, head bowling coach James Hayes said the team’s hard work is coming to fruition in regards to their first program win.

“These young men have been working hard all season and the fruits of their labor are showing,” Hayes said. “The win was definitely a team effort against a difficult field. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

The women’s team, which won their first program title in their second tournament as a collegiate team (SWIBC II) back on Sept. 23, placed fourth in both the SWIBC V & VI on Jan. 12 and 13.

Freshman Taylore Ryan and sophomore Melissa McConnell topped the list of individual performances for the Lady Eagles Jan. 13. Ryan placed seventh in the 65-woman field with a score of 1,324, which featured a game-high score of 213. McConnell bowled the highest score for the Lady Eagles with a 237 and finished eighth with a cumulative score of 1,309, directly behind Ryan.

Ryan set a brief game-high score of 254, but it was quickly replaced by freshman Kaitlyn Esquer’s 256 in the following game. Esquer finished the day in 15th place.

“The ladies had a good team event but struggled in Baker,” Hayes said in an interview with the sports information office. “We had a chance in the last match to move up to third but fell just a little short.”

The men’s and women’s teams will travel to Addison, IL to compete in the Kegel/SBPA Midwest Collegiate Classic on Jan. 19-20.

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