The ECC men's bowling team concluded its season in one of four regional Intercollegiate Team Championships (ITC), March 11-12, in Allentown, Pa. The United State Bowling Congress-sponsored event allows the top-four teams from each regional competition to compete for a national collegiate bowling title in Baton Rouge, La., April 19-22.
Although ECC is a junior college, ITC competition is fierce and includes almost exclusively four-year schools. The tournament is Baker bowling only with no individual scores. In their toughest field of competition all season, the Kats finished as the top community college in the northeastern region but 14th overall.
Since January, the Kats have been on fire by capturing one title, three second-place and two third-place finishes in their six matches before this weekend.
Prior to the ITCs, the Kats hosted the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships, March 3-4. The Kats ended as the region's top team, but had to settle for third overall.
Prior to the Nationals, the Kats had three-consecutive second-place finishes with the most recent in the NJCAA Regionals in Utica, Feb. 19.
The runner-up regional finish was preceded by a pair of tournaments the first week of February in Schenectady. The Kats competed in the Boulevard Bowling Classic, Feb.4, and followed that with an appearance in the Schenectady County Community College Bowling Invitational, Feb. 5.
Prior to that, the team secured a third-place finish at the Westchester Shootout Bowling Invitational in Fishkill, Jan. 28, but the impressive run for the Kats started with a first-place finish at the Blue and Orange Collegiate Classic Bowling Invitational, Jan. 21, at Wappingers Falls.
Although the Kats didn't qualify for the ITC Nationals this year, they have won it twice in 1986 and 1988. Erie also had a nice run of three sectional qualifiers between 2005-2009 with the 2009 and 2006 team finishing 16th in the nation, while the Ryan Ciminelli-led Kats took seventh in 2005.