BELTON, Mo. – Thanks to a stunning run through the bracket that featured victories over the tournament’s two favorites, Avila women’s bowling finished as champions of the 2023 Eagle Invitational, the team’s first ever home event, at Aaron’s Family Fun Center in Belton this weekend. The Eagle men finished qualifying strong to end the event as the #7 seed.
With more than a dozen schools across multiple collegiate divisions from across the greater Midwest coming to Aaron’s to compete in a USBC-sanctioned collegiate bowling event for the first time ever, Avila Bowling’s first home event in program history was a rousing success. The team celebrated its first Senior Day in program history, and capped off a signature weekend for the program with a stunning result: the first tournament championship in team history.
“I’m exhausted, I’m in shock, and I’m thrilled – all those things wrapped into one,” head coach Paul Wolf said Sunday. “It was a group effort. The kids were phenomenal all weekend. The staff here at Aaron’s was unbelievable all weekend. My assistant coach Mike Seroka worked his tail off to pull this off, and it’s just an unbelievable feeling.”
Underneath all the fanfare – and the anxiety – that came with hosting a home event for the first time, the 2023 Eagle Invitational featured a fairly standard format. Every team competed in four sets of four Baker games on Saturday and a total of five team games over the weekend. Every competing varsity team qualified for bracket play on Sunday afternoon, seeded in order of total team pinfall collected across every game played during qualifying.
The Avila men finished strong on day one of the tournament, rising a couple of places up the leaderboards in the process, and carried that trend into Sunday morning to comfortably finish in seventh. The top four teams received byes, meaning Avila had to face #8 seed Kansas State in the first round – and the Wildcats were able to pull off the mini upset, defeating the Eagles in their best-of-three series to end Avila’s run in the first round.
Nick Hays led the Eagles in average over the weekend, with a mark that was good for 11th in the entire field. Brody Stanback and Aidan Tesdall also finished in the top 50. Bryce Stewart led the way for Avila’s JV team with a Top 20 average among all bowlers – Avila finished third in the five-team JV standings, only 200 pins behind 2nd-place Iowa Central. In a surprising championship, Peru State defeated Culver-Stockton 3-1…
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