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Tech seniors Channell, Eder helped build bowling program

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
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Photos by Louisiana Tech Athletics

Louisiana Tech seniors Kaitlyn Eder (above) and Ashley Channell (below) helped build the Tech bowling program.

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When Louisiana Tech senior bowlers Ashley Channell and Kaitlyn Eder were first being recruited to LA Tech, head coach Matt Nantais told them he wanted to build the program.

“I didn’t really care about going somewhere that was already established,” Channell said. “I was more interested in the building of a program and making it something.”

And build the program they did.

During the duo’s freshman campaign, Louisiana Tech had received votes in the 2017 National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) Preseason Poll.

Flash forward to the pair’s senior season and they have helped the Lady Techsters earn their first-ever bid to the National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championship.

Tech will start the championship as the top seed in the fourth region with its first match set to be against Youngstown State on Wednesday, April 7, at 9 a.m. (CT). Fairleigh Dickinson and Sam Houston State are the other two teams competing in region four.

“It’s something we’ve been working for throughout the years and it’s surreal that it’s finally happening,” Eder said.

Though there were times that were mentally and physically exhausting, Eder said it has been rewarding to see the team’s progression and how the program will continue to develop.

“Once we leave, they’re not done,” Eder said. “They’re going to keep going and they’re going to keep getting better and it’s so cool to see that. In the past, we hadn’t been high in the rankings, but now, we’re a force to be reckoned with. It’s been really rewarding and cool to watch.”

Channell said they were hopeful about the program during the 2019-20 season and were gearing up for the post-season when the remainder of the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After going through like all the highs and lows for the past couple of years, it was like we’re finally going to get chance to breakthrough and then that happens,” Channell said. “It really made me look forward to coming back this year and getting the chance to finish what we didn’t get to do last year.”

Louisiana Tech finished second at four tournaments during the 2020-21 campaign, including the 2021 Southland Bowling League Championships which came down to the wire.

“It’s definitely made us fight harder and be stronger because we know that we’re fortunate to be competing right now,” Eder said. “We have more of a determination. The whole team has felt that. We want to do well. We want to win the championship.”

Channell said the team is treating every tournament they compete in as if it is their last.

“It put things into a different perspective of you don’t know when your last one could be,” Channell said. “At every tournament, I keep that in the back of my mind. I think to myself, ‘Would I be happy with how I finished this tournament if it was my last one?’”

Both of the seniors began bowling at a young age as both their parents were coaches. Channell’s parents actually bought a bowling alley when she was three months old, so she practically grew up in a bowling center.

“I spent more time at the bowling center than my actual house,” Channell said.

Channell and Louisiana Tech had the opportunity to compete at the Channell family’s bowling alley, the Savannah Bowling Center in Savannah, Tenn., this season at the Lady Techsters Invitational where the team finished second.

Eder also started bowling at a young age as she began when she was four-years-old. Both of her parents bowled, and her brother, Nathan, bowled collegiately at South Florida.

“It was fun to do the Saturday morning leagues,” Eder said. “When I was 10, I was like, ‘Okay, I want to actually try to do this professionally.’ I started getting lessons and it grew from there.”

Channell and Eder, who have been roommates the past three years, had actually met years before arriving at Louisiana Tech. The pair were in the same small group on a college tour when they were about 15-years-old. Three years later, both girls were beginning their freshman seasons on the Louisiana Tech bowling team.

Both seniors are grateful for their time at Louisiana Tech.

“We all are really thankful for the support because it’s been a long road to get to where we are right now,” Channell said. “We are very grateful for coach for always advocating for us and believing in us through all the ups and downs. It’s been great having the continued support from athletics and the community. Without the support from all of these people, there’s no way we would have made it this far.”