Chowan’s new game

Published 8:50 am Friday, July 24, 2009

MURFREESBORO, N.C.—Chowan University’s new varsity women’s bowling team will have a Franklin connection. The team will practice at the Franklin Bowling Center beginning this fall.

According to Tom Whiteman, the varsity women’s bowling coach, the team will not host meets in Franklin in its initial season but will practice for the five Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association regional matches. Chowan University is in the Western Division of the CIAA. The Hawks will participate in their initial bowling tournament in Charlotte on Nov. 6.

Chowan officially joined the CIAA July 1. The CIAA requires member schools to field a women’s bowling team.

Whiteman, who has taught graphic communications at Chowan since 2000, said he started bowling at the age of 5. He continued through high school and also bowled for the West Liberty State College bowling team in West Liberty, W.Va.

“I ran the youth bowling program in Weirton, W.Va. I continue to bowl in leagues in Franklin on Tuesday and Thursday nights.”

Since most high schools do not have a varsity bowling team, recruiting for Chowan’s bowling team has been mostly in-house. Whiteman said he put up notices at the school and that 15 women showed interest.

“We went to Franklin and bowled twice. One girl from Pennsylvania bowled in high school,” Whiteman said. “Other than that, the rest of them don’t know anything about bowling. I have had a lot of explaining to do to get them started.”

Whiteman had the potential players practice over the summer. The team can carry 10 on the roster.

“In the fall we are going to practice and keep up with scores. Whoever has the best average is going to make the cut,” he said.

Whiteman is hopeful the team will be competitive the first year.

“We do have one girl who has bowled and others have a lot of potential and are good athletes. They have good coordination. With a little bit of instruction, I think we will do OK,” Whiteman said.

Tournaments last over three-day weekends. Besides the Nov. 6 date, Chowan will travel to Salisbury, N.C., on Jan. 15, Raleigh on Feb. 5, Fayetteville on March 5, and the CIAA championship in Durham on March 20.

Elizabeth City State University won the CIAA championship in 2009.