The newest sport coming to Goshen College is one of the oldest games in human history: bowling. It can trace its roots back almost 5,000 years, but for GC, the sport will become a part of the athletic department within the next two years.Athletic director Erica Albertin said the goal is to have the teams start in the 2023-24 school year.
“We need the coach first before we can set up schedules,” she said. “We have some good connections, and we’re actively searching for the new coach.If we get too far into the Spring, the teams will likely not start until the Fall of 2024.”
She continued to say that the plan is to have both a women’s and a men’s team. “Ideally, the coaching candidate will coach both teams,” she said.
Albertin has reached out to other athletic directors within the Crossroads League to determine the best way to start the teams.
Currently, seven of the ten schools in the conference have bowling teams and The Maple Leafs would be able to immediately begin competing within the league.
“The conference as a whole gets more at-large bids to the national tournament with more teams,” Albertin said, “so the process of getting the teams included in the Crossroads League system is fairly simple. There aren’t many hoops to jump through.”
More at-large bids to the tournament also means more revenue for the Crossroads League.
“Introducing the teams is a financial asset to the Crossroads League, but will also provide the college with more income,” Albertin said.
Maple City Bowl is likely the venue both teams will call home. The bowling alley was purchased by Roger Brown in 2018 and was fully renovated after the sale.
The facility has 24 lanes made of synthetic materials, wide concourses and a max capacity of over 300 individuals. This means GC will be able to host large competitions with multiple schools.
Brown has also maintained a good working relationship with GC’s athletic department.
“Roger has been great to work with,” Albertin said, “He knows a lot of local bowlers and has been working closely with us.”
After the coaching search is over, the next step for the teams is to build rosters.
“We’re trying to get the news out about the teams,” Albertin said, “so we can draw interested students, both current students and high school prospects.”
Bowling has gained popularity in high schools and colleges over the past decade. There are currently 189 high schools in Indiana with bowling teams.
She hopes that adding the two teams to GC will provide boosts not only for recruiting, but also to create a bridge to the Goshen community.
“We’re super excited about it,” Albertin said. “It’s not just about getting more students to Goshen, but it is also about community outreach. Bowling is such a fun atmosphere. You can have 5-year-olds bowling with 105-year-olds.
“It’s a really great sport that brings people together,” she added. “We’re excited to be bringing it to Goshen College.”