It was a milestone more than a decade in the making.
The Wright State women’s bowling team won its first Tier 1 tournament at the Lehigh Valley Classic in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Dec. 28. Tier 1 tournaments are elite events, generally attracting many of the top-ranked teams in the country.
“The competition is super intense because it’s such a strong group of teams,” Raiders coach Jeff Fleck said. “So, we are super stoked.”
Wright State has been in the running for a Tier I title several times, placing second and third more than once, including once falling short by three pins. This time, the Raiders led wire to wire, winning by 200 pins.
“I think, for us, the key was that we were having such a great week,” Fleck said. “Everyone was having such a great time together. No disrespect to any of the other teams I’ve coached but, in my 12 years, this is one of the best times I’ve ever had with a team. The camaraderie is just so good.”
The Raiders were also having a good time on the lanes. Junior Tori Pappas placed first individually while teammates Colleen Hines and Alyssa Oster finished second and seventh, respectively. It was Pappas’ first Tier 1 win but she placed first in the Racers Classic, Falcon Classic and Toledo Classic this season.
“As an individual, I’ve come a long way in the past couple of years and learned so much and put it all together,” Pappas said. “Half the time, I don’t even know what I have at the end of the day. I’m more focused on the team score because team comes first.”
There was little time to celebrate their accomplishment as the holiday road trip continued the next day at the Keystone Quaker Classic. A tournament-high 20-game Baker block on the second day helped Wright State finish third, less than 50 pins out of first.
“We came from way behind (250 pins) and were right in it,” Fleck said.
The Raiders are hoping to maintain their momentum as the season kicks into high gear with three tournaments this month, starting Saturday.
“We just have to keep being hungry,” Fleck said.
And build on that strong camaraderie.
“Growing even more as a team will help us be stronger in the tournaments to come,” Pappas said.
• The trip to Allentown was also a good one for the Wright State men, who finished sixth at the Keystone Quaker Classic and eighth at the Lehigh Valley Classic. Freshman Conner Novak posted the best individual performance — fourth at Lehigh — while Hunter Schlegel and Brandon Fleming finished seventh and 11th, respectively, at Keystone.