LAWRENCE, Kan. – With a new-look combined squad in tow, Avila bowling made the short trip west to Lawrence to participate in the 2022 Wildcat Challenge hosted by Baker University over the weekend, the teams’ final event of the regular season of their inaugural campaigns.
In their most recent event, the Bronco Open at the end of January, the Avila men only had four guys available to compete, and in a sport where team score is key, that meant the Eagles had no chance of finishing high in the standings. Head coach Paul Wolf didn’t want to deal with that same situation at the Wildcat Challenge, so he decided to get creative: he mixed in two of the Eagle women – Devyn Coleman and Joanne Alibayan – with the core of four Eagle men – Aidan Tesdall, Caleb Wangler Evan Serrage and Wesley Smith – to create a new-look combo squad to compete in this event only.
Wolf got to mix and match his lineup of five bowlers, experimenting with different bowling orders and personnel alignments, and giving all six bowlers one more outing in a live event setting outside of a practice at Aaron’s. Fielding a combined team like that in a men’s tournament meant that Avila would not be eligible to officially place in the 12-team field, but for Wolf in the final event of the regular season for a debuting team that was a tradeoff he was more than willing to make to give the six available bowlers that one extra dose of real game experience.
The Wildcat Challenge featured yet another unique format for the young Eagle team to navigate. All teams began competition on Saturday with 16 Baker games before playing two team games, followed by three more team games on Sunday morning. The top eight teams in both fields then advanced to a bracket-style matchplay on Sunday afternoon.
Even though Avila doesn’t appear on any of the final official standings, the Eagle combo squad still turned in a very strong weekend: Avila’s Saturday team score of 4560 would have been good enough for ninth place, and the team maintained that position after Sunday’s action, unofficially finishing ahead of Kansas, Missouri Valley, Central Methodist and Saint Mary.
Coleman shot over 200 three times on the weekend, highlighted by a 222 on Saturday, to finish with a weekend average of 192. Tesdall topped 200 twice on Saturday to average 195.6 and Wangler once again fired off the team’s best individual score, a 237, to just edge past Tesdall for the best Eagle average, 196.8.
With the regular season officially in…
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