Spoon River College has been selected to receive a $1,000 Sport Opportunity Grant from the NJCAA Foundation. The grant will assist in sustaining the bowling program, which will begin this fall.

“We’re excited to announce and honored to receive a grant from the NJCAA Foundation that will help us kick-start our new bowling program,” said John Bassett, athletic director and head softball coach at Spoon River College.  “The NJCAA continues to invest resources into schools to help with continued growth and expanded opportunities for student-athletes.”

“Through the NJCAA Sport Opportunity Grant, the NJCAA Foundation is creating opportunities for member colleges to expand and develop sports offerings,” stated Brian Luckett, NJCAA Foundation Executive Director. “Athletics at the two-year level continue to grow and progress, resulting in student-athletes being afforded more significant development opportunities athletically and academically.”

In addition to the new bowling program, Spoon River College offers baseball, softball, both men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and E-sports, and is a member of the NJCAA. Not only do sports provide a fun activity for students, studies have shown that student-athletes tend to perform better academically than their non-athlete peers due to the increased motivation and discipline they gain from participating in sports. Student-athletes are more likely to stay in school and graduate than those not participating in athletics. “This year at SRC, our student-athletes had a cumulative 3.26 GPA, the highest ever on record,” Bassett said.

The addition of a bowling program was announced in the late fall of 2023, and Kenny Shockency of Canton was hired as the head coach. There will be both men’s and women’s teams, and he is looking for experienced bowlers. “We’re hoping to recruit six men and six women,” Shockency said, noting that the team will be playing other junior colleges in Illinois as well as traveling to other states to compete as part of the NJCAA. Practices will be held at Linn Lanes in Canton.

Shockency attended Spoon River College before transferring to Western Illinois University where he bowled at the collegiate level for two years. He has been coaching for the past 20 years, and has bowled 85/300 games and 40+/800 series.

“We are excited to add competitive bowling, and even more excited that Coach Shockency will be leading it,” Bassett said. “His experience with competitive youth bowling in the area will be an invaluable resource, and we look forward to a fun and competitive first season.”

Current and prospective students who are interested in the being part of the bowling team can call 309-649-6303, or email John Bassett email Coach Shockency.

Spoon River College is a two-year, public community college in West Central Illinois offering both transfer and career and technical programs. With campuses and Community Outreach Offices in Canton and Macomb and Learning Centers in Havana and Rushville, Spoon River College serves students in a 1,566 square mile area including portions of Fulton, McDonough, Mason, Schuyler and Knox counties. Visit the Spoon River College website for more information.

The mission of the NJCAA Foundation is to enhance the NJCAA national organization, student-athletes, member colleges and local communities through financial support, scholarships, program initiatives and community service.