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Warriors look to carry momentum into this season

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy: Waldorf Sports Information Director

FOREST CITY – Coming off its first-ever postseason appearance in school history, the Waldorf University men’s bowling team looks to generate further success during the 2016-17 campaign.

Following a 20th-place finish at last year’s United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Intercollegiate Team Sectionals, the Warriors are targeting a return trip to sectionals and aim to top last season’s performance.

“It is a team goal to make the postseason tournament again this year and place in the top 15,” Waldorf coach Joe Squires said.

Nicholas Heimerman is Waldorf’s leading returner from last season as the senior from Faribault, Minnesota compiled an average of 188.17 pins. Sophomore Roger Harford put together a 184.19 average while sophomore Kyle Swiderski finished on the brink of a 180 average last year.

“I believe everyone on the team will make a direct impact in their roles on the team,” said Squires, who enters his second season with the Warriors. “Nick [Heimerman] will be a great leader and will be making great scores. He’ll be instrumental both when he is bowling and when he is not.”

Junior Michael Templin, sophomores Tyler Doss, Damon Helgevold and Tanner Schmitz return to a young, but experienced Waldorf squad. The Warriors look to combine their collegiate experience with hard work and attitude to achieve success.

“The team has melded together and has everyone returning with experience from last year,” Squires said. “We have great depth with subs that are able to impact the game when needed.”

The Warriors begin the season in this weekend’s Stout State Open, opening the two-day tier-2 tournament on Saturday at La Crosse, Wisconsin. Waldorf captured its first-ever team championship in last year’s Stout State Open and will defend its title against the likes of  the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Stout and Viterbo University.

“This first tournament will be a smaller tournament and a great opening one as it was the tournament we won last year,” Squires said. “We’ll be facing some high-quality bowlers from Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin-Stout and Viterbo this year.”

During the course of the tournament, the Warriors will have to continually adjust to varying lane conditions. Waldorf can gain a major advantage by quickly determining the ideal amount of adjustment for each game.

“We will have to capitalize on the lanes when it’s easier to shoot well and ride out the games when it’s more difficult,” Squires said. “Each game is a new set of lanes that presents its own challenges to figure out.  The quicker we figure the lanes out, the more successful we will be.”

In addition to the Stout State Open, Waldorf took home last season’s Jayhawk Collegiate Challenge title and plans to continue the trend.

“We, as a team, want to walk away with a tournament win as we did last year,” Squires said. “We have bowlers that tasted the success last year. They now will have the opportunity to make larger contributions to the success of the team.”

The Warriors compete in 10 tournaments during the regular season, including three tournaments in Iowa. They’ll battle in the Five Seasons Classic on Oct. 29-30 in Cedar Rapids, the Morningside Mustang Invitational on Dec. 3-4 at Sioux City and the 4th Annual Crusader Classic on Jan. 28-29 at Dubuque.

During winter break in December, Waldorf will travel to Las Vegas to face top-notch competition in a pair of tier-1 tournaments that include the Glenn Carlson Las Vegas Invitational and the Las Vegas Collegiate Shoot-Out.

The Warriors ended last season ranked No. 45 in the nation after putting together a 178.91 team average and moving up from an 83rd-place finish during the previous year. Waldorf shoots to improve its average with approaches that are more applicable for the entire team.

“I want to see the team average be between 185 and 190 this year,” Squires said. “This will take the bowlers coming together as a team and carving out a lane for each other rather than finding individual break points. It opens up the line and provides a larger cushion for error for each bowler.”