OKWU Croquet Team Wins National Croquet Championship

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Eight Oklahoma Wesleyan University students competed in the National Collegiate Croquet Championship April 16 and 17 at the Merion Croquet Club in Haverford, PA [close to Philadelphia].

Venue for National Championship

OKWU Croquet Championship Team

“Croquet depends on accuracy and strategy rather than speed and strength, therefore men and women compete on an equal basis rather than in separate competitions,” according to croquet coach Wendell Thompson.

Eight Oklahoma Wesleyan University students competed in the National Collegiate Croquet Championship April 16 and 17 at the Merion Croquet Club in Haverford, PA [close to Philadelphia]. There were two venues: Golf Croquet and American Rules Croquet. Twenty-one doubles teams were entered in each venue. OKWU entered one team in American Rules Croquet and three teams in Golf Croquet.

Friday (4/15) was a practice day, bright and sunny. Saturday was miserably cold, in the 40s, rained all day, with wind blowing 25-30 mph. Saturday was round robin competition to determine position on the single elimination ladder. Sixteen teams of the 21 in Golf Croquet made the playoffs ladder. Sunday was the playoffs (bright and sunny) and two OKWU teams made the playoffs. They won their sweet sixteen matches, and their elite eight matches which put two OKWU teams in the final-four and, fortunately, they were in opposite brackets.

The OKWU freshman team [Micah Klumb & Daniel Johnston] lost its final four game to a student from the U. S. Naval Academy in an unusual situation where the Naval Academy student did not have a doubles partner but was allowed to play his ball and the partner ball. This is not what is normally allowed in doubles competition. They did win the consolation game and ended up in 3rd place.

The other OKWU team [Steve Lutenberg & Skyler Witten] won their final-four match and played in the championship game, which they lost to this same Naval Academy student. They won 2nd place. The Naval Academy student won the championship game and was awarded 1st place. However, since points are awarded to teams based on points earned in the playoff brackets and OKWU had advanced two teams to the final-four and one to the championship game, OKWU had accumulated the most team points and was awarded the National Collegiate Golf Croquet Championship.

The universities that competed in the championships were Oklahoma Wesleyan University, The U. S. Naval Academy, State University of New York, St. John’s College, Case Western Reserve, College of William and Mary, Haverford College, and Davidson College.

Croquet is a sport that has been around for many decades, but modern-day croquet with revised rules has become very popular. Many people have played “9 wicket backyard croquet,” but “golf croquet” and “American Rules croquet” and “International Rules Croquet” are played with six wickets and a stake in the middle of the court.

“Croquet depends on accuracy and strategy rather than speed and strength, therefore men and women compete on an equal basis rather than in separate competitions,” according to croquet coach Wendell Thompson.

OKWU entered one team in American Rules Croquet. Since American Rules requires more time to play, of the 21 teams entered only eight were advanced to the playoffs. The OKWU American rules team finished in 10th place and did not make the playoffs.

LeHanna, the tournament director said.”…for a team which had participated for only three years to win their sport is a real tribute to their good work and great attitude.”

Oklahoma Wesleyan University is a four-year, Christian university of the liberal arts and sciences that is accredited by the North Central Association. OWU also receives professional accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). It is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities as well as the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities and the Association of Oklahoma Independent Colleges and Universities.

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Randy Thompson