First-year HBCU men’s bowling program Stillman College placed fourth of six teams in the inaugural Southern States Athletic Conference Men’s Bowling Championship over the weekend at Bowlero in Savannah, Georgia. The Tigers were the last team standing among first-year SSAC programs and SSAC full member institutions. The championship was hosted by Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD).
Hayes Brown, Griff Minor, Peyton Batchelor, Derrian Winters and Nicholas Patterson represented Stillman at the championship. Winters, Patterson and Batchelor competed in all events for Stillman this season, with Brown and Minor joining the team in the second semester. “I feel like they did pretty well. They showed a lot of resilience with everything we went through to get here. For them to show up and bowl and fight to come back, it showed a lot for this first-year program,” said Stillman head coach Dondrae’ Collins. “Derrian Winters and Nicholas Patterson stepped up and were real good leaders for the team. They kept everyone motivated, and even when they got down, they told the guys to ‘pick me up.'” Stillman entered the double-elimination bracket as the No. 6 seed. The Tigers dropped their first best of seven match, 4-0, to SCAD Atlanta on Friday afternoon (168-145, 142-116, 161-136 and 173-154). On Saturday, the Tigers fell behind 3-0 to the University of Mobile, but fought back to win the Round 3 match, 4-3. Mobile took the first game, 174-143, before posting narrow wins of 101-99 and 156-149 to lead through three games. Stillman bounced back with a 157-151 win in the fourth game, followed by a 145-126 win and 170-145 to even the match. The Tigers won Game 7 by 49 pins, 154-105. The weekend and inaugural Stillman season ended with a 4-1 loss in Round 4 of the SSAC Championship to Milligan College, which went on to finish runner-up in the championship to SCAD. After losing the first two games to Milligan 159-143 and 183-158, Stillman took the third game, 150-142, but the Buffaloes close out the match with wins of 141-124 and 186-133 in the fourth and fifth games. The championship began Friday, Feb. 24 with 16 Baker games to determine seeding for the double-elimination bracket. The Tigers finished with 2,234 pins, 78 behind the University of Mobile, to finish sixth of six teams. While the total was last among the SSAC teams, the Tigers were not last in each game. Stillman was only sixth in eight of the 16 games. The Tigers opened the set of Bakers with a 142, ranking fifth among SSAC teams, before finishing fourth in their fourth, seventh, ninth, 10th, 11th and 16th games. Stillman’s highest games were back-to-back 168 scores in Games 8 and 9 in the middle of the morning. Low scores of 101 in Game 5 and 109 in game 8 proved to be the difference between sixth and fifth position in the overall standings.
SCAD went on to win the SSAC Championship ahead of Milligan, with SCAD Atlanta finishing third.