Webber's Hankey Jr. captures 2019 Intercollegiate Singles Championships men's title

DAYTON, Ohio - When Webber International freshman Tom Hankey Jr. was considering where to spend his collegiate years as a student-athlete, he knew he wanted to attend a school where the coaching staff would push him daily to be better.

Hankey found a match with coach Del Warren and Webber International, and his hard work earned him the first collegiate national championship of his young career after defeating Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Matt Hibbard to capture the 2019 Intercollegiate Singles Championships men’s title. The semifinals and title match of the event were televised on CBS Sports Network on Tuesday.

In the men’s title match, Hankey started with strikes in four of the first five frames while Hibbard struggled early with a washout and 4-6-7 split to leave his first two frames open.

Hibbard bounced back with strikes in the fourth and fifth as he tried to work his way back into the match, but he would have his third open frame in the sixth after leaving a 4-6-7-9-10 split.

Hankey closed by striking in three of his final four shots for a 245-182 victory.

“This is awesome, and right now it means the world to me,” said Hankey, who won the U15 boys Junior Gold Championships title in 2015. “All the hard work and dedication all year long, from August to now, this all comes together, and when it happens like that, it’s an amazing feeling.”

One of Hankey’s role models is coach Warren, and one of the key reasons Hankey decided to attend Webber. It’s safe to say their relationship is off to a great start.

“He’s been one of my role models,” Hankey said. “One of my biggest influences in bowling and he keeps me on my toes every day. He always strives for me to do my best, and I wanted to go to a school where that’s the main factor – someone to push me to be better every day. And, he does that better than anybody.”

But it just might be coach Warren, who’s learning from and appreciating the player, and more importantly, the person Hankey is and what he means to the program.

“First, he’s a great person and a great kid,” Warren said. “He’s easy to coach, sucks up the knowledge and wants to be coached. As a freshman, his contributions to the program would have you think he’s a senior. He’s an honest kid. He’s hard-working. He’s kind.

“If I had a daughter, I’d want him to marry my daughter. He’s that’s kind of person. It’s not just that he loves to bowl and he’s a good bowler, but it really goes much deeper than that with him. He’s just a great person.”

To advance to the title match, Hankey topped Kyle McGrath of Lawrence Tech, 248-175. Hankey started that match with four consecutive strikes, and while McGrath struck on three of his first four shots, he couldn’t convert a 2-10 split in the second frame. Hankey continued to build on his 34-pin lead from that point en route to the victory.

Hankey said having the second semifinal match was helpful in his run to the title.

“That was a big advantage,” Hankey said. “I knew exactly what the lanes were doing, I could keep right in rhythm.”

In the first men’s semifinal, Hibbard struck on five of his first six shots in a 219-170 victory over Robert Morris-Illinois senior Daniel Hanson, who won the 2016 ISC title as a freshman. Hibbard built a 51-pin lead through six frames and stayed clean until the final frame.

This is the first time any Webber player has won an Intercollegiate Singles Championship in school history, and Hankey will join his Webber teammates as they look to win their second Intercollegiate Team Championships title when the men’s ITC show airs May 14 at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS Sports Network.

“This is great for the school,” Hankey said. “This is the first time we’ve won the singles title on the guy’s side. This is another crown for us, and our school is prided on being the best we can be at any given moment and it’s just one more accolade for us.”

The 2019 ISC had a field of 24 men and 24 women who qualified through one of four sectional events held throughout the country in March.

Competition at Poelking Lanes South consisted of six qualifying games to determine seeding for the single-elimination match-play bracket. Bracket matches were three games, with total pinfall determining the winner, until the final rounds, which were one-game matches.

CBS Sports Network also will televise the championship match of the Intercollegiate Team Championships women’s final on May 7 at 8 p.m. Eastern. 

BowlTV.com provided live coverage of the ISC leading up to the televised finals.

Visit BOWL.com/ISC for more information on the Intercollegiate Singles Championships.

At Poelking Lanes South, Dayton, Ohio

Matt Hibbard, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, def. Daniel Hanson, Robert Morris-Illinois, 219-170
Tom Hankey Jr., Webber International def. Kyle McGrath, Lawrence Tech, 248-175

Hankey def. Hibbard, 245-182