FOND DU LAC - Marian University director of athletics Jason Bartelt has announced the addition of men's and women's bowling to the Sabre athletic department with the two programs beginning competition during the 2019-2020 academic year.
"I am extremely excited to be one of the first collegiate institutions in the state of Wisconsin to bring this fast-growing sport to the collegiate level", commented Bartelt. "I am also excited to add another sport offering to the ever-growing Marian athletic department. Bowling is a fast growing sport, not only in the area but across the state and I am thrilled to provide another opportunity for student-athletes to continue to participate in a sport they are passionate about beyond high school."
A traditional bowling match can be played with two different variations. The first variation is simply five bowlers rolling 10 frames with the scores accumulated to create one team score. Whichever team has a higher score is deemed the victor. The second variation of collegiate bowling is the Baker game, where five different bowlers bowl over the course of one 10-frame game. Typically a best-of-seven format, the Baker game requires five players on each team with a rotation of who bowls. The first player bowls the first and sixth frame with the second bowler rolling the second and seventh frame, and so on.
The NCAA sponsors women's bowling and is one of the few sports that combines all three levels of the NCAA. As of 2017-18, 81 schools from across the country sponsored women's bowling with 16 of those teams coming from the Division III level. Women's bowling is considered a winter sport by the NCAA with the National Championship occurring in early April.
The National Tournament consists of 10 teams with three of those teams being selected as at-large bids. The other seven bids come from conference's that fulfill the criteria for an automatic qualifier. Effective with the 2019 Championship, the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference qualifies for an automatic bid making the conference the only Division III conference to earn an automatic bid.
In a corresponding move, the Marian University athletic department has announced the hiring of Dan Mueller to head both programs.
Mueller was the head coach for the Fond du Lac High School boys bowling club from 2008-2010 and has been in charge of the girls since 2010. During his tenure with the girl's program, Mueller led the Cardinals to State appearances from 2010-2014 and conference championships during that span as well. The 2014 season, in particular, saw the Cardinals win a sectional championship and finished as state runner-up.
Mueller was previously a member of the Marian athletic department when he served as an assistant baseball coach from 1986-1989.
"I am excited to be back in the Marian athletics family," commented Mueller. "I am looking forward to putting together a very competitive bowling program that will be able to compete at a high level. I will be looking for student-athletes that will compete both in the classroom and on the bowling lanes throughout their time at Marian."
With the addition of men's and women's bowling, Marian University athletics now sponsors 21 NCAA sports and two club programs. The additions also mark the fifth consecutive academic year the Sabre athletic department will add a sport.