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Giving thanks: Without the late Randy Stoughton, A.J. Wolstenholme isn’t even bowling in the 2023 Intercollegiate Singles Championships he won

JEFF RICHGELS | Posted: Tuesday, May 2, 2023 11:00 pm
Giving thanks: Without the late Randy Stoughton, A.J. Wolstenholme isn’t even bowling in the 2023 Intercollegiate Singles Championships he won
A.J. Wolstenholme of Webber International won the 2023 Intercollegiate Singles Championships men's title. Photo by USBC.

While there were three Webber International players among the four competing in the finals of the 2023 Intercollegiate Singles Championships, a person who wasn’t there had a monumental impact on the outcome.

In fact, without that person, champion A.J. Wolstenholme of Webber said he wouldn’t even have been competing in the tournament.

Wolstenholme beat Webber teammate Adam Atkins 224-173 and routed Fresno State’s Vincent Luong 259-170 to win the title on the show that taped April 22 at South Point Bowling Plaza and aired on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday night.

Credit for the win also belongs with Randy Stoughton, the beloved Webber women’s coach who died in January of cancer, as Wostenholme said he wouldn’t have even been in the tournament or even at Webber without Stoughton.

“If it weren’t for Randy (Stoughton), I wouldn’t even be bowling in college,” Wolstenholme said in this USBC news release. “I ended up on a Zoom lesson with him during the COVID year, and he asked if I still had college eligibility because he liked the way I process things. He thought I would fit in well here, and once I came for a visit, I knew it was where I needed to be.

“Losing Randy was a big deal, and we feel the lack of his presence every day. I don’t know; for some reason it just sort of felt like this was meant to happen. This one was for Randy.”

In the final match, Wolstenholme started with three strikes and a spare to lead Luong by 29 after just four frames, then closed with a 7-bagger to cruise to the title. 

Luong beat Webber’s Austin Grammar 204-169 in the other semifinal of what almost seemed like a Webber intrasquad competition.

“I was so happy to have my teammates next to me keeping me loose and supporting me when I needed them,” Wolstenholme said in the USBC release. “It was awesome; I couldn’t have done it without them.”

In his semifinal against teammate Atkins, Wolstenholme struck on six of his first eight shots, while Atkins had two opens in that stretch.

On the day, Wolstenholme struck 17 times in 23 shots.

Luong and Grammar were only a pin apart after six frames, but Luong struck on three of his final five shots while Grammar opened the 10th.

The ISC men’s pattern was 41 feet, with a 39-foot drop brush, 29.4 mL of oil — 20.25 mL forward and 9.15 mL reverse — left-side ratios of 1.67-1 middle-outside track, 1.27-1 middle-middle track, and 1-1 middle-inside track, and right-side ratios of 2-1 middle-outside track, 1.27-1 middle-middle track, and 1-1-1 middle-inside track.

The 24 men and 24 women in the ISC fields bowled six games of qualifying that determined seeding for a single-elimination bracket, with the top eight men and eight women earning a first-round bye.

The players then bowled 3-game matches decided by total pins until there were four men and four women left to compete in the semifinals and finals on CBS SN.

My story after the first day of the competition is here. And my story after the second day of competition is here.

All of the competition prior to the TV shows was webcast by BowlTV.

South Point Bowling Plaza, Las Vegas

A.J. Wolstenholme, Webber International def. Adam Atkins, Webber International, 224-173.
Vincent Luong, Fresno State def. Austin Grammar, Webber International, 204-169.
Wolstenholme def. Luong, 259-170.