The nationally-ranked Urbana University men's club bowling team is gearing up to compete in the 2017 Intercollegiate Team Championships, hosted this week at the Raising Cane's River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The Intercollegiate Team Championships, first contested in 1975, is the pinnacle event of the college-bowling season. The 16-team tournament opens with qualifying and match play games.
The double elimination event involves teams fighting for a chance to hoist the Kerm Helmer Cup in the ITC Men's Finals, which is scheduled for 5:45 pm on Saturday.
The Blue Knights, who check in at No. 6 in the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association Poll (NCBCA), are making their fourth straight appearance at the national tournament under head coach Phil Baker.
After a pair of early exits the past two years, UU is looking to get back to the finals. The Blue Knights produced the top finish in school history as the national runner-up in 2014, after winning four contests as the fourth seed in match play.
UU earned a bid to this year's national championships after finishing second at the Midwest Sectionals in Smyrna, Tennessee in March. The Blue Knights came up just 42 pins short of capturing their third straight sectional title as Purdue-Calumet edged out UU, 12731 to 12689.
An experienced roster carries UU into the national spotlight, including senior Kyle Cook. The Centerville, Ohio native earned NCBCA Second Team All-American honors last season, and will likely earn another All-American nod during the Night of Champions Banquet to be held on Wednesday night.
Additionally, the impressive UU lineup features seniors Dalton Cooper (Beavercreek, Ohio), Trey Cooper (South Charleston, Ohio), Josh Brant-Parkin (Ontario, Canada), and Cody Schultz (Wapakoneta, Ohio). Two sophomores, Eric Bator (Brunswick, Ohio) and Terry Snyder (Cincinnati, Ohio), and one freshman, Austin Sweet (Springfield, Ohio), are also major contributors.