BRACKETS:Men | Women
INDIANAPOLIS - The Webber International men went undefeated in match play, while the Pikeville women came out of the losers bracket to win titles at the 2012 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Invitational.
Webber defeated Calumet, 3-0, to take the men's championship, while Pikeville defeated Webber's women's team in consecutive best-of-five matches to take the women's title at Western Bowl. The entire event was broadcast live on BowlTV.
All four of the final teams have already qualified for the United States Bowling Congress Intercollegiate Team Championships, which will crown national champions in college bowling April 19-21 in Lincoln, Neb.
In the men's final, Webber took the title in a sweep with wins of 224-202, 187-185 and 214-156. The Warriors won the second game when anchor bowler Marcelo Suartz made the 2-4-10 split in the final frame.
"We prepared for this as a dress rehearsal for nationals, and we prepped as though this was the national championships, so we're pleased with the results," Webber International men's coach Del Warren said. "As dress rehearsals go, this was pretty good."
The Webber women came into the championship match undefeated in match play and needed to be beaten twice, which is exactly what Pikeville did. The Bears swept both matches, 3-0, to win the title.
In the first championship match, Pikeville took wins of 209-179, 219-175 and 216-181. It was much of the same in the final championship match as the Bears rolled 166-135, 195-144 and 204-195.
"We just kept believing in what we were doing and got the job done," Pikeville anchor Kim Yioulos said. "Now we will go back home, practice hard and just get ready to bowl for the national championship in a couple weeks."
NAIA elevated bowling to emerging sport status in 2010. The move by one of the nation's governing bodies for collegiate athletics puts bowling on the path to becoming a championship sport for dozens of additional colleges and universities across the country.
In the 2011-12 season, NAIA schools fielded 36 women's teams and 35 men's teams. If 50 or more NAIA member institutions designate bowling as a varsity sport, then bowling will be eligible for championship sport status and an NAIA national championship.
The NAIA has 60,000 student-athletes participating at nearly 300 member colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. Divided into 25 conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions, the NAIA offers 23 championships in 13 sports. All NAIA bowling programs are members of USBC Collegiate.
A total of 23 men's teams and 16 women's teams competed in the NAIA Invitational.