Story and photos by Matt Decker
Public Affairs Office
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (May 17, 2018) — Commander’s Cup victory puts perfect end on perfect season
The 2nd Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment, bowling team moved from third place after the first round to first place to win the 2018 Commander’s Cup Bowling Tournament May 10.
“It’s good competition out here. It’s fun,” said Jason Vanbelkum, who averaged 221 points per game to score a 664 in three games on the final night of the two-week tournament, which was held at Daugherty Bowling Center.
Reggie Weaver finished with 604 points, while Jarod Rains followed with a 574, and coach Troy Klinge added 426 for a team total of 2,268. That score, when combined with the team’s first-round total of 2,137, gave them a final score of 4,405.
“Once again, as I’ve said before, Reggie and Jason carried this team,” Klinge said. “Jarod really came through for us this week and bowled big, and I just did what I normally do. So, hat’s off to the guys for doing what they do.”
The victory was a razor-thin three-point margin over the Company A, 554th Engineer Battalion, team, who finished in second place with 4,402 points.
Co. A, 554th Engr. Bn. team members Justin Woodin, Wadell Tollison, Kristopher Smith and Corey Robinson were in first place after the first round, putting up 2,268 points on May 3.
“Everybody had a good week,” Woodin said. “Sergeant Smith had a 268, and I had a 267, which put us ahead of everybody in our first game. Then we just had to watch everybody else and tried to beat them.”
Bryan Kaolowi, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports assistant, said he was surprised by the high level of competition in the first round.
“Some of the teams that were lower in the (tournament) seeding turned out to be on the top after (the first round). It was kind of neat to see everybody kind of step it up for the tournament,” Kaolowi said.
Unfortunately for Co. A, 554th Engr. Bn., the team couldn’t keep the momentum going, and slipped to 2,134 points in the second round.
The highest scoring team May 10 were the defending tournament champions, the 14th Military Police Brigade, who bowled a 2,282 in the second round to finish third with 4,320 points. Acting as friendly nemeses since the beginning of the season, players from both the 14th MP Bde. and 2-48 Inf. Bn. said the teams pushed each other to improve.
“I just want to say it was great bowling against 2-48. It was even better beating them scratch tonight,” said Col. Curtis Schroeder, 14th MP Bde. commander and bowling team member.
Finishing in fourth place was the 1st Engineer Brigade, with 4,218 points, and Company D, 554th Engineer Battalion, rounded out the top five with 4,218.
A total of 10 teams participated in this year’s tournament, double the number of teams that turned out last year. To qualify for the Commander’s Cup event, teams had to complete the 13-week intramural season, which ended April 26.
FMWR Chief of Sports Coleman Swinton presented the tournament’s championship trophy to the 2-48th Inf. Bn. team.
When asked what inspired their performance, Rains said his team simply wasn’t used to being 100 points down and worked hard to make up the deficit.
“We’re not used to bowling from behind. So, to make up 100 pins, to hold off Alpha Company and the 14th is just crazy,” Rains said.
Weaver said the team also wanted to keep their undefeated record intact.
“That pushed us forward tonight,” he said, adding that earning this year’s trophy was one of the best moments of his bowling career.
“I’ve been bowling since I was 8 years old, and I’m 44 now,” he explained. “This is one of the top three.”