When a coach builds up a program from one of the upstart variety to one of a sleeping giant status, it speaks volumes as to what can be accomplished going forward.
The positive attitudes of Shawnee State coaches Bryan and Jani Sturgell throughout the 2019-20 season resulted in a year where Shawnee State bowlers Chloe Long and Hallie Nichols finished inside the top-30 in Mid-South Conference.
Better yet, SSU returns four of their top-five bowlers — and eight of their 10 letterwinners — from this season’s group.
Long puts together exceptional freshman season
From September through February, one would’ve been hard-pressed to find a better freshman bowler in the Mid-South Conference than Chloe Long.
The talented freshman from Bolingbrook, Ill. immediately made an impact in her second meet out by bowling a new school record of 276 in a single game at the Louisville Classic back in October, ultimately earning Louisville Classic All-Tournament honors in the process.
Long added in an 18th place finish at the Orange and Black Classic in Dayton, Ohio, finished seventh of 45 bowlers at Super Bowl Lanes in Erlanger, Ky., and collected a 27th place showing at the Mid-South Conference Championships by bowling an 896. She was one of 38 bowlers in the Mid-South to knock down over 850 pins.
Nichols adds in stellar second half
With exceptional performances in the closing meets of the year, sophomore bowler Hallie Nichols emerged as arguably the top bowler for the SSU women.
Nichols started off her late-season tear by averaging an impressive 186.3 pins per rack at the Cincinnati Classic in late January. She built on that effort by posting three games at the Mid-South Conference’s Indy Classic, where she knocked down at least 200 pins or more — including marks of 226, 220, and 212 — to lead SSU with a 193.5 pin average per rack while leading both teams in total pins dropped, with 1,161.
At the Mid-South Conference Championships, Nichols continued to prove herself as a force. The Plain City, Ohio native was one of only 25 bowlers in the entire field of 93 to collect over 900 pins for the tournament, dropping 938 overall.
Nichols then combined with Long in Mid-South Conference Doubles competition to post a 10th place finish of 43 doubles participants. They were one of only 13 doubles teams to knock down over 1,800 pins in all.
High-performing Bears not just limited to bowling
Of the 10 bowlers on the 2019-20 Shawnee State unit, nine of the 10 hold grade-point-averages at or above a 3.22 GPA, with eight of those nine currently holding GPAs of 3.47 or higher — a strong track record for a unit of SSU’s caliber. Additionally, Jordan Hileman and Josie Wolfe, to cap off their careers, each obtained Champions of Character accolades.
The women, as a group, also have unique talents. MacKenzie Mason, Chloe Long, and Tara Bush, who each hold 4.0 GPAs, are majors in marketing, occupational therapy, and sociology, while Carla Pena, who holds a 3.98 GPA, is a video game design major.
Jordan Hileman has a 3.92 GPA in education, Makayla McDaniel holds a 3.81 GPA in her freshman year, Andrea Ruark has obtained a 3.69 GPA in physical therapy, Josie Wolfe holds a 3.47 GPA in nursing, and Kayleigh Coriell has a 3.22 GPA as an individual pursuing a future as an intervention specialist.
For more information on SSU Bears Athletics, visit www.ssubears.com or visit the Twitter and Facebook pages at https://twitter.com/SSUBears and https://www.facebook.com/SSUBears. For more information on how to join the SSU Bear Club, visit https://givetossu.com/bear-club.