The Oklahoma Christian University bowling program has entered the 2022-23 season with tournaments in Las Vegas, NV; Wichita, KS; Chicago, IL; and more.
At their previous Chicago competition, the men finished 17th out of 71 teams while the women came in 26th out of 61. Kaylee Back led the men and women individually, placing 13th out of 393.
Head coach James Hayes spoke on the weekend as a whole.
“Our teams had an up-and-down weekend,” Hayes said. “We could never get into a rhythm.”
The teams are set to travel to Dallas, TX, and compete in the SWIBC V and VI tournaments this coming weekend, Jan. 21 and 22.
“We have a short turnaround to get ready for Dallas and look forward to the opportunity we have there,” Hayes said.
Heading into Dallas, the men are ranked 19th in the nation for the United States Bowling Congress (USBC). This follows a 2021-22 season where they finished 14th in the USBC and placed 13th at nationals, which was the first time they qualified in program history.
The women currently sit at 12th in the USBC after finishing last season at 21st.
Team captain for the girls’ team, Claire McDermott, spoke on the recent emergence of the program.
“We have been starting to come together as a program and set a standard here at OC,” McDermott said. “We are still a new program and to have good success this early is a good sign.”
Oklahoma Christian added bowling to their club sports roster in 2018.
As a senior, McDermott said she has seen the program grow and reach new heights year after year.
“As a freshman, the program was just in its second year with little to no expectations or notoriety,” McDermott said. “Now, it feels like we carry weight with us.”
In 2019, McDermott’s freshman year, the girls had nine bowlers on the roster and the men had 13. Now, in 2023, the girls’ team features 17 bowlers and the men’s team has 27.
Both teams will bowl in Dallas before going to Shawnee, OK, on Feb. 4 and Indianapolis, IN, in mid-February in hopes of continuing their recent trend of success.