Kansas University's Marc D'Errico has earned a berth in college bowling's Final Four.
D'Errico, a sophomore from Rochester, N.Y., and three others last week emerged from a field of 200 bowlers to qualify for the Youth Masters semifinals in March 2002 in Virginia Beach, Va. He survived three days of open bowling in Akron, Ohio, earning enough total pins to reach the round of 32, where collegians were placed in brackets for head-to-head competition.
D'Errico upended three opponents to earn a spot in the nationally televised March event, to be held in conjunction with pro bowling's Battle of Little Creek Tournament. He could earn scholarship money of $25,000 if he wins two more matches and claims the top prize.
"Just making the top four is probably my biggest achievement," said D'Errico, who had a high game of 230 during the competition held on unusually harsh lanes.
"To make the finals and be playing for $25,000 hasn't fully sunk in yet. It's weird to be in the top four of a national tournament, have your picture taken and getting publicity like you're supposed to."
D'Errico he helped KU's bowling team to a No. 5 finish at nationals his freshman year and has two career 300 games will bowl Pat Clark of Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan in one national semifinal. Sean Rash, an Alaska native who attends Wichita State, will meet Josh Harper of Pikeville (Ky.) College in the other semifinal.
The national semis will be in an arena bowling format. Fans will surround the lanes and be able to cheer, hoot and holler as the bowlers roll.
"It's hard to explain. You'd think it would bother you. But you get out there and are so focused and concentrating so hard you don't hear anything," D'Errico said.
The New Yorker, who has a career-best series of 845 (298, 247, 300), chose Kansas over Nebraska and Central Missouri State. He's on academic scholarship at KU, with bowling a club sport, not an NCAA sanctioned sport at KU.
"I was trying to look for a school that had a good bowling team, but also a team I could help try to win a national title," said D'Errico, the only youth member of the 2000 Empire State Games Western Region team. He earned three silver medals (All-Around open, team and trio) and one bronze (open singles) at that prestigious event in New York.
"As a junior in high school, I sent a video to some colleges. KU's team and coach Michael Fine was one who responded. I came and visited, got along with everybody great. Almost all our team is back this season."