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Spotlight: UI senior strikes up a club

BY MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM | NOVEMBER 12, 2010 7:20 AM

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Shaking his head back and forth, Cameron Huggins, the president of the Iowa men's bowling club, confessed he has bowled a score of 299 six times.

But the University of Iowa senior has never bowled a perfect game.

"The only way to do that is to get the first 11 strikes and then a nine on the last bowl, and three of these guys have done it already," said Huggins, 21, as he laughed and pointed over his shoulder to his teammates at the busy lanes. "So, the pressure is on me because I'm in charge of these guys, but that's how it is."

The Newton, Iowa, native began bowling at age 4 — not that unusual, considering his household. Huggins' father and uncle are both avid bowlers, and his uncle has even competed in a few televised events.

After bowling competitively throughout high school and making it to a few state tournaments, Huggins was unsure where he should attend college.

Struggling with whether to continue bowling in college, he ultimately chose Iowa over Wichita State, despite the Shockers boasting one of the country's most prestigious teams. He didn't want to deal with out-of-state tuition if he failed to make the team.

While participating in the UI's intramural bowling as a freshman, he bowled against a few students who were in the process of creating a club. His team won the match and was immediately asked to join.

"It was a thrown-together thing," Huggins said. "There was no funding from the university my first year, so we paid out of our pockets for everything."

Huggins became vice president his sophomore year and began handling some of the team's paperwork. As a junior, he moved up to president and took on even more responsibilities.

Since he began, the club's membership has doubled to 18. Thanks to his marketing strategies, this season's tryouts recorded the best turnout yet with nearly 25 people.

"He has spent hours putting our team together and making sure that we are signed up and eligible to compete in tournaments," junior teammat,e Matt Mitchell said. "I don't think most people realize how much work it does take to get everything organized."

Because of funding constraints — the club receives just $500 from the UI annually — the team must seek money elsewhere. In the past, expenses have been anywhere from $700 to $800 a person for the year. That includes lane fees, tournament fees, and travel, among other things.

Through Huggins' creativity and leadership, the club has begun its first-ever fundraiser, selling wristbands. Huggins expects the team will raise $2,000.

"Anything we can get helps," said teammate Kyle Slings, an eighth-year pharmacy student.

The group takes anywhere from four to six trips around the Midwest each year, and this weekend, it will travel to Minneapolis for a two-day tournament. Huggins is also looking into entering a tournament in Las Vegas.

"It means a lot for him to continue what was started just a few years ago," senior teammate Nick Lenth said. "If we didn't have someone to do that, then I don't know if we would be able to keep doing this. I know I appreciate it a lot."


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