By Emil Williams Jr.
ADDISON, Ill. – The 2022 Intercollegiate Team Championships got underway Thursday, and the defending champions in each division will join six additional undefeated teams Friday at Stardust Bowl.
The pinnacle event of the 2022 United States Bowling Congress Collegiate season features the top 16 men’s and women’s bowling programs from across the country.
All teams bowled 24 Baker games Thursday to determine seeding for the double-elimination bracket, which features best-of-seven Baker matches leading into the finals.
The finals, which will be taped Saturday, will air on Tuesdays in May on CBS Sports Network. The men’s ITC show will air May 10 at 8 p.m. Eastern, while the women’s ITC final will air May 17 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.
Leading the men’s division in qualifying was Savannah College of Art and Design-Savannah with a 5,125 total, a 213.54 average. They were followed by Emmanuel (4,965), Wichita State (4,953), Indiana Tech (4,883) and St. Ambrose (4,878).
Wichita State began its quest for back-to-back titles and a 13th national championship with a 4-2 victory over No. 14 Oklahoma Christian. The Shockers, who return five players from last year’s squad, then defeated No. 6 Lindenwood, 4-2, in Round 2 to set up a quarterfinal match with Emmanuel.
Emmanuel needed seven games to defeat No. 15 Midland in Round 1, 4-3, before knocking off No. 7 Webber International in the second round, 4-2.
On the other side of the men’s bracket, Indiana Tech advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating No. 13 William Paterson (4-1) and No. 12 McKendree (4-1).
They will face No. 8 Wisconsin-Whitewater, who rolled past No. 9 Mount Mercy, 4-1, in the opening round and then went the distance with SCAD-Savannah (4-3) to advance.
Pacing the women’s qualifying field was 2022 NCAA champion McKendree (4,874), followed by Wichita State (4,768), Maryville (4,730), Mount St. Mary’s (4,724) and Stephen F. Austin (4,701).
Wichita State, the defending women’s champion, opened match play with a 4.5-0.5 victory over No. 15 Tulane. Their strong start continued in Round 2, where they met No. 10 Sam Houston State and moved past the Bearkats in five games, 4-1.
The Shockers return four players from last year’s championship team as they attempt to repeat. It would be the 11th title in the history of the women’s program. They will face No. 6 St. Francis-Illinois, who got past No. 11 Louisiana Tech (4-1) and No. 14 Mount Mercy (4-3).
Stephen F. Austin, the 2022 NCAA runner-up, advanced in the winners bracket with wins over No. 12 Duquesne (4-2) and No. 13 Saint Xavier (4-1). The Ladyjacks will face No. 8 Pikeville in their next match Friday.
Pikeville swept No. 9 SCAD-Savannah in Round 1 and overcame a resilient Delaware State squad in the second round (4-3) to remain undefeated. Delaware State, the No. 16 seed, knocked off McKendree in the opening round, 4-1.
Competition at Stardust Bowl resumes at 8:45 a.m. Eastern on Friday with elimination matches. Another round of elimination matches will follow at 10:45 a.m. Eastern. Winners bracket matches will resume at 2 p.m. Eastern.
Match play will continue Friday until the teams for Saturday’s title matches are determined.
Teams earned their way into the ITC field in March by finishing in the top four at one of four sectional events held throughout the country.
BowlTV.com has live coverage of all qualifying and match-play rounds of the Intercollegiate Team Championships leading up to the televised finals.