NDC Bowler Wins World Championships

By Julie DiBiasio

For Notre Dame College junior Chris Via, bowling has always been an important part of his life. The accounting major recalls accompanying his family of avid bowlers to the alley as one of his earliest memories. While other children his age busied themselves with arcade games, Via was glued to his chair soaking up as much bowling knowledge as possible.

Little did he know his interest in the sport would one day take him across the globe and earn him gold and silver medals.

Via recently returned with the precious medals from Bangkok, Thailand, where he won the World Tenpin Bowling Association World Youth Championships with Junior Team USA and earned silver in the individual Masters competition.

Junior Team USA entered the medal round as the fourth seed and took down Singapore, 889-807, to claim the U.S. boys’ first world title since 2000. In the gold-medal match, Via led his team with a 237 game.

“It was really an incredible feeling. I’ve never felt anything like it,” Via said. “To stand up on the podium and hear the national anthem was so special. It was like being at the Olympics for bowling.” 

The Springfield, Ohio, native got to stand on the podium a second time as he later also won silver in the Masters competition. As the fourth qualifier for the medal round, he took out top seed Sam Cooley of Australia, 246-180, in the semis before narrowly losing, 206-198, to Daniel Fransson of Sweden.

“I knew I could make a run and put some pretty good games together to make a run into fourth,” Via told Bowl.com. “In the gold medal match, I had a good look but just made a few errant shots that cost me quite a few pins.”

Despite losing the final match of the 2012 World Youth Championships, Via was nothing but positive about his experience. The trip was his first ever outside the continental U.S. Exploring another culture was the most exciting part, he said.

“During the two weeks I spent in Bangkok, I was very surprised at how similar our cultures were in terms of lifestyle,” Via said. “However, there were differences in regards to respect. For example, a waiter or waitress would never rush you at a dinner table. They want you to move at your own pace and enjoy your meal. I thought that was really neat.”

Chris Via
Falcon bowler Chris Via won gold and silver for Junior Team USA in Bangkok.

Via and his teammates were able to spend one day sightseeing in Bangkok. They took a water taxi around the city, visited temples and marveled at the Grand Palace. But the rest of the trip was consumed by bowling.

Via started bowling competitively when he was a freshman at Kenton Ridge High School in Springfield and his team was the first to win a state championship title for the school. Realizing he had true talent, Via spent his summers competing in tournaments in an effort to raise his pin average.

His talent did not go unnoticed and Via was invited to compete in the United States Bowling Congress Junior Gold Championships in Indianapolis in the summer of 2010. Fresh out of high school, he finished third out of 1,500 bowlers, which landed him a spot on the USBC Junior Team USA in 2011.

This year, by finishing fifth overall at the trials in Las Vegas, Via earned another bid to the team and the opportunity to compete at the 12th World Youth Championship in Bangkok this past July.

Via credits his experiences as a member of the Notre Dame College bowling team for his recent successes.

“Being on the bowling team at NDC has helped me learn to be part of a team,” Via said. “Most people think of bowling as an individual sport. While it can be, learning to be a valuable teammate is an integral part of bowling that will help you win competitions. I hope my experience in Bangkok will help bring success to the NDC bowling team this year.”

Via, who is currently training for the Las Vegas trials in January in hopes of landing a spot on the 2013 USBC Junior Team, has already done so. Last April the Falcons, led by Via, qualified for the USBC national tournament, where they finished eighth out of 16 teams.

And now, thanks to Via, the Falcons also have a world champion in their ranks.

Julie DiBiasio is the college communications assistant at Notre Dame College.


May 25
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