Spartans pose with professional bowler Robert Smith at a bowling alley in 2009. Top row, left to right: Justin Bautista, Brian Villatuya, professional bowler Robert Smith, David Doyle and Michael Grzyb. Bottom row, left to right: Pierre Ramos and Royce Agustin. Photo courtesy of Royce Agustin.

Spartans Compete in Major Bowling Tournament

Spartans pose with professional bowler Robert Smith at a bowling alley in 2009. Top row, left to right: Justin Bautista, Brian Villatuya, professional bowler Robert Smith, David Doyle and Michael Grzyb. Bottom row, left to right: Pierre Ramos and Royce Agustin. Photo courtesy of Royce Agustin.

Five Spartans are competing in the 2011 USBC Open Championships. Top row, left to right: Justin Bautista, Brian Villatuya, professional bowler Robert Smith, David Doyle and Michael Grzyb. Bottom row, left to right: Pierre Ramos and Royce Agustin. Photo courtesy of Royce Agustin.

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

A five-man Spartans team is representing SJSU at the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Open Championships in Reno, Nev. The SJSU team’s 2011 competition dates are June 21-22.

The group consists of Royce Agustin, Justin Bautista, David Doyle, Michael Grzyb and Brian Villatuya. This is the second consecutive year that former and current members of SJSU’s bowling team are competing in this annual tournament, said Agustin, a kinesiology lecturer and SJSU alumnus.

“The thing I’m looking forward to as a team is bowling with these guys again,” Agustin said. “We know to cooperate with each other and basically get along. That’s important for team unity.”

The tournament takes place over the span of a few months. Agustin and three returning team members competed in last year’s USBC Opens Championship, which also took place in Reno at the National Bowling Stadium. With 78 lanes and 390 bowlers competing at the same time, Agustin described the stadium atmosphere as “a madhouse.”

The 108-year-old Open Championships is the largest participatory sporting event in the world, according to USBC’s website. Bowlers compete as individuals and as a team against other groups. Last year, 70,000 bowlers competed for almost $6 million in prize money, according to the 2011 event guide.

“Last year’s trip to the USBC Open Championship was a great experience for us because it was our biggest tournament since college bowling,” said Villatuya, who graduated from SJSU in 2010 with a bachelor’s of science degree in kinesiology. “It is always great to be in an environment where you compete against some of the best bowlers in the world and observe the different types of bowlers that showcase their individual style.”

Bautista has been part of the SJSU bowling team for six years as a player, president or coach. Collegiate bowling has helped prepare Bautista and his teammates because they have experience with bowling with each other.

“I have learned a lot of different things since being on the competitive team for the school and traveling and competing in tournaments representing the school,” Doyle said. “It has been a great challenge trying to break away from the regular individual goals of bowling and making the transition to trying to do whatever possible to benefit the team as a whole. It requires a different mindset and has allowed me to look at the game differently.”