Robert Morris-Illinois senior Kenny Ryan
had to skip his graduation. With the national championships being held at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nebraska, the same weekend, he chose bowling over walking across the stage.
Ryan not only bowled, he reached the final round of the Intercollegiate Singles Championships and helped his team to the title match of the Intercollegiate Team Championships.
Competing on the ISC television show for the second time in his collegiate career, Ryan (featured photo) struck on four of his first six shots in the title match on his way to a 217-191 victory over Calumet’s Jeffrey Holden. CBS Sports Network televised the ISC men’s semifinals and final on Tuesday.
“I was a little more relaxed going into this show,” said Ryan, who leaned on his experience from a semifinal loss in the 2016 ISC. “I don’t want to say I saw it coming, but I’ve been bowling really well and had a lot of confidence coming in. I was just able to make my shots and live with whatever happened.”
While Ryan was striking early, Holden had two open frames and a foul on a spare attempt. Ryan had a 54-pin lead through the opening half of the match, but he knew any mistake could let Holden back in.
“Keep the foot on the pedal, don’t let up,” Ryan responded when asked his thoughts on the early lead. “Just keep making great shots. I try to bowl my own game.”
Ryan would stay clean the rest of the way to win the national title and make missing graduation a little easier on his mom, Michele.
“When I told her I had to come here for nationals, she was pretty upset,” Ryan said. “She showed up for the banquet with a graduation cap, and I took a picture with her. It eased her mind a little bit.”
Ryan reached the final with a 226-220 victory over Wichita State’s Joseph Grondin. Ryan caught an early break when he left the 1-3-4-7 washout in the second frame and appeared to miss it.
“I thought I chopped it,” Ryan said. “I caught a break when it bounced out of the back. I knew it was just a bad shot and knew I wouldn’t make another one like that on that lane.”
Grondin failed to convert a 2-4-10 split in the seventh frame, while Ryan struck in frames four through eight. But, Ryan’s missed spare in the ninth left the door open. Needing a double in the final frame, Grondin got the first strike but missed right on his second attempt.
Holden had to face Calumet teammate Tyler James in the semifinals. James fouled on a spare attempt in the opening frame and tried to catch up the rest of the way. Holden, meanwhile, struck on four of his first five shots. His non-strike also happened to be a foul on his first attempt in the third frame, but he picked up the spare.
Holden would close with five strikes in a 235-195 victory to reach the final.
The 2018 ISC featured 24 men and 24 women who earned their spots in the field by qualifying through one of four sectional events held in March. Competition at Sun Valley Lanes consisted of six qualifying games to determine seeding for the single-elimination match-play bracket. Bracket matches were three games, with total pinfall determining the winners.
CBS Sports Network will air two more shows from the collegiate national championships held at Sun Valley Lanes. The Intercollegiate Team Championships women’s final will be televised on May 10 at 8 p.m. Eastern, while the men’s team final will air May 15 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
BBOWL.com’s BowlTV provided live coverage of the ISC leading up to the finals on CBS Sports Network. For more information on the Intercollegiate Singles Championships, click here.
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2018 Intercollegiate Singles Championships TV Finals
Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA (April 17-18 and 21, 2018)
Jeffrey Holden, Calumet def. Tyler James, Calumet, 235-195
Kenny Ryan, Robert Morris-Illinois def. Joseph Grondin, Wichita State, 226-220
Ryan def. Holden, 217-191