For the Wright State Raiders, it will be a tale of two teams this season.
After graduating only one bowler, the men’s team is a veteran squad, led by six tournament-tested seniors. They were just 12 pins shy of earning a berth to the USBC Collegiate National Tournament last season.
“Last year was a heartbreaker, especially since the tournament was here,” Raiders coach Jeff Fleck said. “They’re hungry as heck, I can just tell. They struggled a bit at times last year, but the confidence level is sky high this season.”
That confidence has already translated into wins as the Wright State men have already tallied as many titles as they did all of last season. The Raiders came out on top at both the University of Northwestern Ohio Racer Classic and the Cardinal Baker Classic.
“It used to be if they dug a hole on the first day, they couldn’t dig out of it,” Fleck said. “But, this season, they’ve come in on Sunday with a great attitude.”
While the men’s team is experienced, the Wright State women’s team is young with six freshmen on the roster and not a single senior. The young Raiders have already found a way to win with a first-place finish at the Cardinal Baker Classic.
“I’m refreshed by the youngsters we have on the women’s side,” Fleck said. “It will take some time but my goal, this year, is to be ready for the end of the year.”
Fleck has plenty of company in the coaching ranks this season – a lot of familiar faces at that. Coaching is a family affair at Wright State and not simply because of the father-son duo of Jeff and Jeremy Fleck. The Raiders have eight former players sharing coaching duties this year in Fleck, Dean Reynolds, Justin Marcinko, Clay Stutzman and Brandon Weiker on the men’s side and Leslie Campbell, Colleen Hines and Kira Lade on the women’s side.
“I think it speaks volumes about our philosophy of family,” Fleck said.
The Raiders will be in action in the friendly confines of Beaver-Vu Bowl on Oct. 12-13 for the University of Pikeville’s Orange & Black Classic Tournament and again Nov. 9-10 for the Roto Grip Raider Classic. The men compete at Beaver-Vu while the women will be at Poelking South for the Orange & Black and Capri Lanes for the Raider Classic.
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