Zach Buchholz is taking an impressive bowling resume to the collegiate level next fall.
Buchholz, a Tomah High School senior, is headed to Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, where he’ll compete on the school’s bowling team and study graphic design. He’ll attend on both an academic and bowling scholarship.
Clarke’s bowling coach Andrew Gonner is happy to land Buchholz. He traveled to Tomah Saturday for the signing ceremony at the Strike Zone.
“He’s going to help us a lot,” Gonner said. “He has a good IQ for the game, and he’s always looking to improve.”
Buchholz has been a youth bowler since 2009 and competed with Tomah High School squads that reached state tournaments in 2016 and 2017. He took first place his sophomore year at the district level as an individual and qualified for the high school state tournament as an individual that season.
He also qualified for the National Junior Gold Tournament in Indianapolis in 2016 and Cleveland in 2017 and has already qualified for the 2018 National Junior Gold Tournament in Dallas. In Cleveland, he placed 176th out of 1,419 bowlers in the U20 division.
He bowled a 300 game as a sophomore in 2015.
Buchholz looks forward to the collegiate experience. He likes the Clarke University campus and a chance to continue his competitive bowling career through college.
“The campus is small, which is what I wanted,” Buccholz said. “The campus is beautiful, and Dubuque is a beautiful area.”
Gonner first saw Buchholz at a bowling camp and was impressed by his demeanor on the lanes.
“He has a good head for the game,” Gonner said. “He doesn’t show frustration.”
Bowling is a club sport at Clarke, but Gonner hopes it will become recognized by the NAIA by 2020. Fifty member schools must sponsor the sport before it gets NAIA sponsorship.
The season runs roughly the length of the school year, but Buchholz doesn’t believe that’s a problem.
“I actually like the longer season,” he said. “I bowl year-round as it is.”
Clarke maintains both a varsity and junior varsity program, and Gonner said it’s important that every member of his team gets to compete at some level. He began his ninth season as coach earlier this fall and had taken three of his first eight teams to national tournaments.
“If you come to Clarke to be part of our program ... you’re not only going to get practice time, you’ll get competitive time,” Gonner said.
Buchholz has high goals for his collegiate career. He ultimately wants to reach nationals and get into the “top 15 or 25.”
He said he’s fortunate to get an opportunity to pursue the sport he loves.
“It’s a sport everybody can do,” he said. “You see all different people from all different backgrounds, and you can do it all your life.”
He’s going to help us a lot. He has a good IQ for the game, and he’s always looking to improve.—Clarke University bowling coach Andrew Gonner