CG’s Landers finds a new home to bowl at Shawnee State

Published 7:37 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Coal Grove Hornets senior bowling standout Blake Landers signed a letter-of-intent on Wednesday to play for the Shawnee State University Bears. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, mother Melissa Landers, Blake and father Scott Landers; standing left to right, Kirby Allen, Hornets’ coach Willie Serey and Steve Cartmell. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

COAL GROVE — Seek and you will find.

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In Matthew 7:7-8 of the St. Ignatius bible, the verse refers to going to God and your prayers will be answered. For Coal Grove Hornets senior Blake Landers, his prayers were answered when he went looking for a college where he could continue his bowling career.

Hornets’ Blake Landers

Landers found the college and program in his backyard as the Shawnee State Bears signed him to a letter-of-intent on Wednesday.

“It’s close enough to home so it’s nice and they have the bowling team and I have just been looking for a good place to bowl. There aren’t many college around that have bowling,” said Landers.

“I think it’s just the perfect place to bowl.”

Landers said Coal Grove introduced bowling his freshman year and but his uncle (Shane Landers) took him to bowl whenever his uncle went to bowl.

“That’s where I got started and got me interested in it,” said Landers. “Then, they introduced it here at school and I said may as well do it. Why not? It was the only sport I was really interested in and it just went off from there. My junior year I started bowling tournaments around Ohio. I got my first win a couple of weeks ago.”

Landers said he has flirted with other sports but bowling is the only one that captured his attention and his heart.

“I could play other sports but I was never really into organized basketball and stuff like that. I just kind of like playing street ball,” said Landers.

“I got a couple of guys at Spare Time who helped me out a lot. Kirby (Allen) is the one who helped me out the most.”

Landers said the Bears have had a good recruiting class and he is looking forward to what the team can accomplish in the immediate future.

“They have a couple more kids coming in who are good. I think when we come in we have three or four kids counting me. I think we’ll be really good in our conference.”

Shawnee State head coach Bryan Sturgell said he became aware of Landers through the grapevine.

“We actually came across him through a couple of his friends.We saw him throw the bowling ball a little bit and said, ‘man, this might be someone we want to talk to,’” said Sturgell.

“We talked to him a little bit and showed him our interest and everything worked out. He throws it really good so we’re excited for him and we know he works hard on his game which is only going to help him, especially at the college level.”

With only a few years under his belt, Landers is optimistic about his future.

“There are so many things I’m still learning. I still have to keep myself accurate,” said Landers. “Once I get myself accurate, I’ll be so much better. I think I’m close to my prime.

Besides being one of the top bowlers for Shawnee State, Landers has a couple of other goals on his “to do” list.

“I want to shoot 300. I’ve never shot a 300 game. I do want to get another tournament win,” he said.

Sturgell is just excited to have Landers in the fold.

“We’re just excited to give him the opportunity and I really think he’s going to come into our program and make an instant impact on us because of his work ethic and as much as he wants to bowl. You don’t get that very often. He has a love for the game and as a coach that’s all you can ask for,” said Sturgell.

Landers is leaning toward a business degree or something in Information Technology.