Freeport, Illinois — Sometimes it is good to be the underdog when heading into the post-season, but the Highland Cougars Men’s Bowling Team won’t have the “underdog” label when they land in Buffalo on Thursday to compete for the NJCAA National Championship.
The HCC Men’s team is the #1 ranked NJCAA team in the nation so the rest of the field will be looking to knock the Cougar’s off their position, and they will need to if they want the National Championship.
“We have earned this top spot, now it’s what we do with it that will show what we are made of,” says Head Coach, Gail Myers, Jr. “We focus on spares, we play the lanes the way we are supposed to, we play as a team… and with those fundamentals, our successes have shown this year during competition. Being the top seed is different for us, but if we perform like we can – we should be the team to beat.”
The top 30 junior college teams will compete in the NJCAA National Championship this Thursday-Saturday at BowlMor AMF’s Airport Bowl. Thursday is practice session for all the teams, while competition begins at 7:15am EST on Friday morning. The final squad will wrap up on Saturday afternoon. Singles, Doubles, and Team events are all competed for with all-event totals tallied to determine the NJCAA National Champion and All-American honors.
In addition, Highland ranks 34th in the national amongst schools of all sizes – including 4-year colleges and universities. It is these accolades in the national polls that show the talent that this young Cougar team has when they shoe them up for competition.
“We are only freshman and sophomores,” adds Myers, Jr. “We’ve been maturing the talent from the first practice at Highland and we need them to grow up quick if they really want to compete at this level. For the most part, we are accomplishing what we are trying to do. Of course we still have a lot to learn but I like our chances if we bowl as a team – and someone steps up when they need to.”
Jared Johnson, a freshman at Highland, knows that the talent will be tough in Buffalo.
“This will be the best of the best in the NJCAA field. We will need to make sure our focus is on what we are trying to do and we pick up our spares,” says Johnson who as a freshman will be making his first NJCAA National appearance. “We definitely have the talent to win this, we all have to come with our game face on and be able to pick up one another when needed. We said from our first practice that it was our goal to win a National Championship for Highland – it’s time to show if we can do it.”
Finishes Myers Jr, “If we bowl like we are capable, we pick up our spares, and teamwork is applied from the time the first ball is thrown until the last… we will be bringing a big trophy and a National Championship back to Freeport and Highland Community College. We just gotta leave it all on the lanes and want it more than the others.”
The Highland Men’s team consists of Ethan Hull, Kaine McNett, and Drey Abbot (sophomores), and freshman Jared Johnson, Bryce Lawson, Gary Ramey, Larry Tripamer III, and Kody Bacher.
Lady Cougars looking to find “lightning in a bottle” in Buffalo at NJCAA Nationals
The Lady Cougars are looking to play the underdog role when they show up in Buffalo for the NJCAA Nationals this weekend. The predominantly freshman team, is currently ranked 3rd in the NJCAA collegiate rankings, but realize that Schnedtady CC is a top-team that is expected to walk away with the National Championship.
Coach Todd Johnson, knows the role that the HCC Lady Cougars have to play when they arrive at the lanes in Buffalo.
“Nobody is expecting HCC to come in and dominate this tournament,” says Johnson who will be making the trip with only 2 sophomores and the rest of the team as freshman. “Schnectady is real good as are many of the teams, but if we can put all of our pieces together for a few days… anything can happen. It all starts with spares. We know who we have to beat; it is time to do it.”
The Lady Cougars will compete at the same time as the Men’s Cougars team Thursday-Saturday at Airport Bowl in Buffalo. The Lady Cougar team consists of Allie Dawson and Alexis Pfeiffer (Sophomores), Skylar Russo-Perry, Megan Drake, Michaela Keeney, Ashlie Dalberg, Emily Corbin, and Alexis Streff (all freshman).
Highland Director of Bowling – Jeff Johnson
Highland Head Coach, Men’s Bowling Team – Gail Myers Jr.
Highland Head Coach, Women’s Bowling Team – Todd Johnson
Highland Athletic Director, Pete Norman