WHITEWATER – With a No. 1 preseason ranking and a strong core of returners, expectations remain high for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater bowling team heading into the 2015-16 season.

The following student-athlete from Belvidere is a member of the 2015-16 UW-Whitewater bowling team:

Tiffany Wagner of Belvidere (Belvidere High School), majoring in psychology, made the UW Whitewater bowling team.

The Warhawks, who are slotted first in the National Tenpin Coaches Association Division II/III Preseason Poll and seventh in the all-level NTCA Preseason Poll, lost only Dayna Mackie to graduation from the 2014-15 team, which matched its best finish in program history of third place at the NCAA Championship.

Four players who participated in varsity matches last season return in 2015 through 2016. Head coach Leann Eimermann, who was named NTCA Division II/III Coach of the Year for the second time in her career, returns for her fourth season at the helm of the program.

The Warhawks, who began the preseason with captains’ practices in mid-September, open the 2015 through 2016 season this weekend at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s New Jersey Jamboree in New Brunswick, N.J., the site of the 2016 NCAA Championship.

Senior Lindsay Rusch, an All-Tournament Team honoree at last year’s NCAA Championship, said the Jamboree is one of her favorite tournaments of the season.

“We get to go sightseeing, and I feel like it’s a good way to start off the season,” Rusch said. “Everyone gets to know each other on a different level. We’re all friends at practice, but you really get to know someone when you travel with them for the first time.

“For some of the girls, it’s their first time traveling on varsity, so it’ll a really good experience for them. I’m excited to see how they do at the tournament.”

Six captains will oversee a roster composed primarily of freshmen and sophomores, an unusual look for a normally veteran-laden program.

“This year on our varsity roster, we have three seniors and three juniors, and the rest are all sophomores and freshmen,” junior Amanda Van Duyn, a 2014 All-American said.

“It’s definitely a different atmosphere than I’ve experienced in the last two years in the sense that there’s a lot of young players and everyone’s kind of on an even playing field.”

Van Duyn and Rusch will share captainship with seniors Shannon Franklin, Jaymi Watson, juniors Sage Greenwood and Taylor Hoppe.

Each captain took on different responsibilities during the preseason, with all six taking time to help bring along their younger teammates.

“This was my favorite preseason of all time,” Rusch said. “I felt like it was really organized, and we got a lot of shots in during practice. We really worked on things, not just for myself, but with other individuals, helping them out.”

UW-Whitewater will compete in eight states during the season against teams primarily from Division I and II schools. The team will compete in five different tournaments, including three at the varsity level, prior to Thanksgiving.

After a two-month span away from competition, the Warhawks continue their campaign Jan. 15 through Jan. 17 at the Mid-Winter Classic in Jonesboro, Ark.

UW-Whitewater will host the Warhawk Invitational Feb. 19 through Feb. 21 at Sheridan Lanes in Kenosha.

One month after the USBC Sectionals (March 11 through March 13), UW-Whitewater aims to compete for the fourth straight year in the NCAA Championship on April 14 through April 16.

The Warhawks have been the only team from a Division III institution over the last three seasons to compete at national tournament, which encompasses all NCAA levels.

UW-Whitewater closes the 2015 through 2016 season at the USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships on April 21 through April 23.

The Warhawks’ primary goals include a return trip to the NCAA Championship and having each member of the team maintain a 3.25 grade point average or higher.

The program’s 2015 through 2016 slogan, “Our Story”, refers to the team’s desire to craft its own story over the course of the season.

“Each tournament is a new chapter, each week is a new chapter and we write our story,” Van Duyn said. “At the end of the year, we’ll have this new story we can tell everybody. That’s an exciting thing to be a part of. It’s a great way for us to write history again at this university.”

For more than 140 years, UW-Whitewater has provided students with the education and training to begin their careers with a solid foundation behind them.

The UW-Whitewater is committed to the development of the individual, the growth of personal and professional integrity and respect for diversity and global perspectives.

These are met by providing academic and co-curricular programs that emphasize the pursuit of knowledge and understanding and a commitment to service within a safe and secure environment.

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