Timeline of Press Releases
- May 30, 2019 - Coaching Staff Announces First Players on 2019-2020 Selected Team
- May 14, 2019 - Shocker Bowling Coaching Staff Changes: Lewis & Harris elevated, Rick Steelsmith Hired
WICHITA, Kan. – The first members of the 2019-2020 selected teams were chosen by the coaching staff. Seven ladies and nine men were pre-selected and placed directly on the selected team for 2019-2020.
Six men are returning from last year’s team.
The returning men who received direct placement are:
- Joe Grondin – senior – San Pedro, Calif.
- Briley Haugh – junior – Faribault, Minn.
- Jerod Hromek – senior – Towanda, Kan.
- Ryan Kendall – senior – Pelham, Ala.
- Jacob Kersten – senior – Clarkston, Mich.
- Nick Sommer – sophomore – Roscoe, Ill.
The two new players added to the selected team are:
- Gabe Alvarez – Wichita Northwest High School – Wichita, Kan.
- Alec Keplinger – Coldwater High School – Coldwater, Mich.
Also returning back to the team after a few year hiatus is Brandon Biondo, a junior hailing from Carpentersville, Ill.
Seven ladies are back from a successful season last year. Those ladies are:
- Sierra Cieiolka – junior – Harker Heights, Texas
- Madisyn Hansen – sophomore – Derby, Kan.
- Addie Herzberg – sophomore – Wichita, Kan.
- Madison Janack – sophomore – Myrtle Beach, S.C.
- Sarah Klassen – sophomore – St. Catharines, Ontario
- Olivia Komorowski – sophomore – Oshkosh, Wisc.
- Kaitlyn Rudy – senior – Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Additional men and women may be added to the selected team upon completion of the tryout process in September. In addition to the selected team, all of the 2019-2020 developmental team members for the Shockers will be selected after the annual three week tryout period, scheduled for late August through early September 2019.
WICHITA, Kan. – Head coach Gordon Vadakin announced his retirement earlier this afternoon. Because of that announcement, the Shocker Bowling program is pleased to announce exciting changes in the coaching staff.
Current assistant coach Mark Lewis takes on the newly created Director of the Bowling Program position while current Marketing, Development and Operations Coordinator Holly Harris has been elevated to the Women’s Head Bowling Coach. The Shockers are also pleased to announce the addition of Shocker alumni Rick Steelsmith as the Men’s Head Bowling Coach.
Steelsmith had an illustrious collegiate career followed by a successful professional career on the Professional Bowlers Association tour. Rick started his collegiate career at Vincennes University where he was a two-time NCBCA First Team All-American along with the 1985 NJCAA National Team and Singles Champion. He obtained his degree in 1985 in Bowling Center Management from Vincennes and then came to Wichita State. While at Wichita State, he was again an NCBCA First Team All-American twice, becoming the first ever player to be a four-time First Team All-American. Steelsmith was also named the 1987 NCBCA Most Valuable Player. Rick was part of the 1987 national championship team as well. He received his degree in Business Management from Wichita State in 1989.
While in college, Steelsmith won the 1987 ABC Masters tournament. At the time, it wasn’t an official PBA tour stop and does not count as a PBA title. Steelsmith joined the PBA 1988 and earned the PBA Rookie of the Year award to jumpstart his 20-year career on tour. He earned two PBA titles – 1991 PBA Doubles in Buffalo, N.Y. and the 1997 PBA National Championship in Toledo, Ohio – his first major. Steelsmith was voted the PBA Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award in 1997.
Along with collegiate and professional success, Steelsmith had international success. He was a member of Team USA in 1987 and traveled to Helsinki, Finland to compete in the FIQ World Championships. He won two gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals. He bowled 300, the first perfect game in FIQ World Championships history. Fast forward to 2014 where he was a member of the senior Team USA and competed in the Tournament of the Americas. There, he won six gold medals.
Outside of professional bowling, Steelsmith owns a multitude of other titles and accomplishments, including: 1988 ABC Championships all-events and team all-events titles (with Vadakin and Lewis), 1986 Bowlers Journal Amateur All-American team, 1987 Bowlers Journal Amateur Bowler of the Year, 1987 World Bowling Writers Bowler of the Year, 1987 Bowling Digest Bowler of the Year and 1987 Bowling Magazine First Team All-American. Rick was inducted into the NJCAA Bowling Hall of Fame in 1998, the Greater Wichita Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 1998, the Kansas State Men’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 2001, the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and USBC Hall of Fame in 2013.
As good of a player as Steelsmith is, he is also one of the best coaches in the country. He has been the Head Teaching Professional with the JOMA Bowling Company and the Director of Youth Development at West Acres Bowl for the last ten years. He has assisted Wichita State in various national tournament appearances and as an associate coach. During the fall of 2013, Steelsmith served as an assistant coach while Mark Lewis was away with a family matter.
Steelsmith has coached multiple Kansas State High School Champions and Wichita State Selected Team players. More recently, he’s coached Kansas native Brandon Bonta, who was named to the Dexter High School All-American team as a freshman in 2018. He was part of the 2017 and 2018 USA Bowling National Champions and was the 2018 U15 Junior Gold runner up. Rick has been his coach since he was ten.
“Gordon was my coach during my collegiate career at Wichita State years ago. He played a huge role in the successes that I’ve been fortunate enough to have since college,” Steelsmith said. “What an amazing honor it is for me to return in a coaching capacity to this iconic bowling program he’s built over the last forty-plus years. I can’t express how thankful I am for this opportunity and how excited I am to get to work. I am really looking forward to working with and learning from Mark and Holly, meeting all of the student-athletes and becoming a part of the Shocker Bowling team.”
“When Gordon began talking about retirement, there really was only one person we could think of who we wanted to bring on, and that’s Rick Steelsmith,” Lewis said. “He’s been with us at a few national tournaments, he’s served as an associate coach and he’s bowled for us. He understands the program and is truly one of the best coaches in the world. We are lucky to have him join us.”
Lewis has been with the program officially for over twenty years and served as a volunteer assistant coach for ten years prior to that. He’s been a part of ten national championships. In between his time as a volunteer and coming on full-time, he coached in the United Arab Emirates for two years and had success as a player also. He was the 1988 United States Amateur Champion and won a series of bowl-offs to represent the United States in the 1988 Olympic Games, where bowling was held as an exhibition sport. He’s won four USBC Open Championships Eagles. He’s a member of the Great Plains USBC Hall of Fame, the Kansas State USBC Hall of Fame, the USBC Hall of Fame and the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame. He attended and bowled for Wichita State from 1978-1981 and was part of the first men’s national championship team at Wichita State in 1980. Lewis was hired full-time in 1999 as the assistant coach.
Harris bowled for Wichita State from 2010 until 2014. She was a two-time NCBCA All-American and an Academic All-American. Harris earned spots on Junior Team USA 2012 and 2013 along with Team USA in 2014. She earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics in 2014. She worked as a student employee beginning in 2012 and was hired full time as the Marketing, Development and Operations Coordinator in July of 2014. In May 2018, while working full time, Harris obtained her master’s degree in Sport Management. For the last three seasons, Harris has worked alongside Mark Lewis, assisting him with the women’s team.
“This program is so very special to me and I love it so much. I’m thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given and I can’t wait to see where we take this thing. Sharing my passion and love for this program is always something I’ve enjoyed and I can’t wait to continue to do that,” Harris said.
“I’m excited for the next step forward for Shocker Bowling,” Lewis said. “Bringing in Rick Steelsmith to our coaching staff is an awesome addition. Rick brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that current and future players will be able to learn from to improve their games. Holly Harris has been a valuable member of our program since finishing her time as a player on our women’s team. She has shown over the last few years that she is ready for an even bigger role as the Women’s Head Coach. I look forward to working with Coach Steelsmith and Coach Harris as we continue to have our players and the program strive for maximums.”
The new positions for Harris and Lewis will start June 1st while Steelsmith’s first day with Shocker Bowling is June 11th.