WHITING, Ind. – In just his second season of collegiate bowling, Versailles alumnus Michael Davidson is contending for national championships and in contention to be the national player of the year.
Davidson, a sophomore at Calumet College of St. Joseph, has qualified as an individual for the United States Bowling Congress Intercollegiate Singles Championships and has helped lead the Crimson Wave to the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships.
“I think that so far this year and last year I don’t think Michael’s individual seasons could go much better,” Calumet bowling coach Mike Kubacki said. “Last year he was the NAIA rookie of the year, which was quite an accomplishment, and this year I think he actually has a good chance to be the player of the year, but at a bare minimum I think he’ll at least be a first team all-American.”
Davidson is sixth in the nation with a 214.226 average this season, according to CollegeBowling.com. He leads all collegiate players in the country with a 220.486 average in Tier 1 events.
“I think when people see him their first thought is, wow, there’s a talented young man,” Kubacki said. “He’s been one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had in the program. He’s done an amazing job of not being satisfied being good and continuing to work to be great.”
For Davidson, qualifying for the individual and team national championships during the same season always has been a goal. He’s glad to have achieved that goal and now wants to fulfill the dream of winning national titles.
“I believe I’m definitely capable of winning a national title,” he said.
Calumet is very familiar with the national championships as the Crimson Wave have qualified for nationals in all 10 seasons since the program’s inception. The school has finished as the national runner up three times but still is searching for its first championship.
While the team has been close before, Davidson thinks this year’s squad has what it takes to finally break through and win the title.
“This year we have a team this program hasn’t had before,” he said.
The Crimson Wave have the perfect mix of talent, experience and chemistry required to win a national championship, Davidson said.
“I’ve never been a part of a team where the team chemistry is so good,” he said.
Kubacki credits Davidson’s leadership as one of the main reasons why Calumet, who is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA coaches poll, is doing so well. The Versailles graduate was voted a team captain by his teammates and has set an example for the rest of the team to follow.
“I really think that Michael’s work ethic, Michael’s performance and Michael’s quiet nature leads himself to be a great example setter for the rest of the guys in the program,” Kubacki said. “And he definitely in his own quiet way has impacted the success of the team. His resiliency in the frustrating moments and his competitive spirit while maintaining focus has bled into the team well.”
The USBC individual championships will be held on April 19-20 in Wichita, Kansas, with the team championships to follow on April 21-23 in Wichita.
The experience of competing at last year’s national championships, where the Crimson Wave finished third, will be a big help this year, Davidson said.
“Nationals is an atmosphere that you cannot experience anywhere else than college nationals bowling,” said Davidson, a former Ohio High School Athletic Association state champion.
Davidson is excited about Calumet’s potential to win a national title this season and thinks the Crimson Wave have the talent to continue to excel in future seasons, as well. And Kubacki thinks Davidson is only going to get better as an individual.
“Michael’s growth in his two years, it’s exactly the model that you would want to give to other players,” the coach said. “I’m really excited to see what his growth pattern will be as a junior and senior.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.