News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Kegler's Korner

March 15, 2009

Kegler's Korner: Vincennes University defends championship

It must be spring.

Vincennes University wins the National Junior College Athletic Association men’s bowling championship and their coach, Gary Sparks, is named NJCAA Coach of the Year.

The ’Blazers defended their 2008 national championship with the program’s 16th national title last weekend in Cheektowaga, N.Y.

Freshman Gerod Qualls and sophomore Brett Shepherd were named 2009 All-Americans, with Qualls being selected Most Valuable Player.

Qualls averaged 219 over 12 games rolled in the event. Shepherd, last year’s NJCAA overall winner, was the all-events runner-up, posting a 214 average.

VU’s Jack Sullivan ended 10th, averaging 202.

Sparks, was named NJCAA men’s coach of the year for the eighth time, and has now guided VU bowlers to nine national championships. This year, VU topped runner-up Erie Community College by a staggering 555 pins.

“Overall, I was very pleased with our bowling and adding another national championship to our history,” Sparks said. “This team made some strong progress here at the end of the season. We were able to carry that over into the NJCAA and get off to a commanding lead of over 350 pins after the first day. We completed our goal on continuing to improve on that for the final margin of victory.”

In the national doubles competition, two of VU’s four doubles teams finished in the top five. Brandon Brooks and Qualls finished in fourth with 1,261 pins, Sullivan and Allen Ahner took fifth with 1,256 pins. In the national singles competition, VU placed one bowler in the top 10 as Mikey Hill rolled a 668 for seventh place. VU is in Chattanooga, Tenn. this weekend for the Intercollegiate Team Championship sectional qualifier. Sixteen of the top 64 men’s teams will compete for four of the final spots in the ITC National Championships in Rockford, Ill., on April 15-18. “We have one of the strongest — if not the strongest — fields at the Chattanooga sectional and we’ll be seeded sixth, which means our task will be beating at least two teams ranked ahead of us in the final standings,” Sparks said. “If we continue to bowl as we have in the last two tournaments and carry that through the entire weekend, I like our chances.”

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