While bowling has been a Wright State University mainstay for close to two decades, this season marks a first – the first time competing as an NCAA team.
Wright State is one of five schools in Ohio to sponsor an NCAA women’s bowling team and there are close to 100 women’s NCAA programs nationwide. The Raiders are embarking on their inaugural NCAA season at the University of Pikeville Orange & Black Classic on Saturday at Poelking Lanes South, but the changes are already being felt.
“It’s very exciting but, some days, it’s also overwhelming,” head coach Jeff Fleck said. “New rules and regulations, forms, processes and guidelines but our focus is on the culture – we are still Wright State bowlers.”
The Wright State women have a history of success as they advanced to the 16-team United States Bowling Congress national tournament seven times between 2009-2017. The women also won the National Collegiate Club Championship in 2015 and 2019 and were runners-up in 2014 and 2016.
There are a lot of new faces this season with only three returning bowlers, along with nine freshmen and a transfer student, but Fleck is confident they are up to the challenge of facing competitive opponents week after week.
“We’re very young, but everybody is working hard and having fun,” Fleck said.
*WSU men: The Raiders men’s team is looking to build on its 2021-22 success. The Wright State men are coming off a successful season winning the 2022 Collegiate Club National Championship and clinching a fifth Heartland Conference championship. Jeremy Fleck will again be at the helm of a young team with 11 first-year collegiate bowlers – one of the program’s largest recruiting classes.
“Honestly, I think we’re better than we were last season,” Fleck said. “If this new class can come in and produce, we can repeat what we accomplished last season and improve on it.”
The young Raiders also have experience with a core group of returning sophomores and juniors and lone senior Alex Ridings.
“We have two sophomores (Angelo Biondo and Brent Shroyer) who could both be All-Americans,” Fleck said. “We have a lot of talent, we’re probably 15 deep.”
According to Fleck, there are between 12 and 15 bowlers, including a few freshmen, vying for one of eight varsity spots. The Raiders will carry one varsity and two JV teams this season as Fleck is joined by Jeremy Symonds and Rob Glynn on the men’s coaching staff.
The men will also open the season at the Orange & Black Classic at Beaver-Vu Bowl on Saturday.
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