The rosters of the 2018 U.S. bowling team and junior team will be tinted with as much purple as red, white and blue.
Seven with ties to the McKendree bowling program have qualified for Team USA or Junior Team USA in 2018.
Heading the list is McKendree women’s bowling coach Shannon O’Keefe, who won the overall title at the United States Bowling Congress Team USA Trials that concluded Sunday in Las Vegas. Former McKendree All-American A.J. Johnson finished second on the men’s side in the Team USA Trials to capture an automatic selection.
O’Keefe will be joined on Team USA this year by McKendree senior Sarah Wille, who earned her spot on the roster thanks to a strong performance all week at The Orleans Bowling Center. Matt Farber, a graduate assistant for the Bearcat program who also competes for the McKendree men’s squad, also punched his ticket onto the 2018 Team USA men’s squad with his effort in Las Vegas.
In addition, three more individuals from the McKendree bowling programs will compete as members of Junior Team USA in 2018. Sophomores Taylor Bailey and Breanna Clemmer will be a part of the Junior Team USA women’s program, while sophomore Bryan Hahlen rounds out the list with his selection onto the men’s Junior Team USA roster.
The McKendree men’s bowling team currently is ranked No. 1 in the nation, while the women, defending national champions, are No. 2.
“It was a truly phenomenal week, not only for these seven very talented folks but for McKendree University bowling,” said Chuck Brueggemann, director of athletics at McKendree. “We have had multiple representatives on Team USA and Junior Team USA in past years, but never have we been able to boast of seven all at one time.
“This speaks volumes for the talent that Shannon and (McKendree director of bowling) Bryan (O’Keefe), along with (McKendree men’s bowling coach) Dennis Knepper, have been able to bring to our campus and compete at such a high level. This truly puts a stamp on McKendree bowling as one of the premier programs in the nation.”
For O’Keefe, this will mark the 14th consecutive year that she will be a member of the Team USA roster. She shook off a slow start to dominate play over the final four rounds of qualifying in the Trials.
O’Keefe finished in the top 10 of the daily qualifying in each of the last four rounds, moving into the top 10 of the overall standings after day two. O’Keefe moved into the top spot following round four of the five-round qualifying event and never relinquished the lead, finishing with a final total of 46 points.
Bowlers earned points based on their finishing positions in each qualifying round.