The 1974 WPI Bowling Team

The 1974 Championship Bowling Team

While WPI boasts two NCAA national championships (Women’s Varsity 8 rowers in 2022 and golfer Eric Meerbach ’87), a different type of sports team captured another national championship for the university—a team that had no official coach or even uniforms. Competing in the Tri-State College League in 1974, the WPI Bowling Team defeated the United States Military Academy in the last match of the season to dramatically secure the conference title via percentage points, 0.620 to 0.613. They then competed in the Eastern Intercollegiate Bowling National Championships before moving to the national championships in Gainesville, Fla.

The Technicians, as they were known, were composed of six students: Gary Anderson ’76, Tom Burns ’74,  Gary Gastiger ’74, Jack Germaine ’76, Randy Emerson ’76, and Ed Karedes ’75. The team practiced at the campus bowling alley in the lower level of Alumni Gymnasium, called Gompei’s Gutters, relying on self-coaching and their own encouragement. 

Opened in 1962 during what many consider the Golden Age of ten-pin bowling, the campus bowling alley was a popular recreational activity spot for bowlers of all skills. The team’s unlikely victory was even covered by Sports Illustrated, which noted that when news of the Technicians’ victory reached campus, reporters were met with a near-unanimous response from students: “What bowling team?”

Bowling grotesque outside Harrington

While there is no longer a bowling alley on campus, the memory of the many hours WPI students spent in Gompei’s Gutters is memorialized on the outside wall of Harrington Auditorium, thanks to one particular grotesque.

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