Oklahoma Wesleyan University’s croquet team was among 25 doubles teams participating in this year’s USCA Philadelphia National Tournament at the Merion Cricket Club in Haverford, Penn. Teams included U. S. Naval Academy, St. John University, College of William & Mary, Princeton University, State University of New York, and Case Western Reserve.
OKWU’s team was started several years ago and is coached by retired librarian and senior croquet medalist, Wendell Thompson. Former team member and alum, Daniel Johnston, is the assistant coach. This year’s team only included one returning member, Aaron Fratzke. New to the team this year were Colton Frederick, Peter Pendergrass, Austin Gibson, Nathaniel Sanborn, Caleb WIlson, Ross Courtain, and Colton Miller.
Doubles teams competed in five games of pool play with 16 teams making the playoffs in a single elimination bracket. Nathaniel Sanborn and Caleb Wilson were undefeated in pool play and were seeded no. 1, playing no. 16 seeded Austin Gibson and Ross Courtain (also from OKWU).
Aaron Fratzke and Colton Frederick (4-1) were seeded no. 3, joined by Peter Pendergrass and Colton Miller (4-1) who were seeded no. 6 in the round of 16.
OKWU’s doubles Sanborn/Wilson, Fratzke/Frederick and Pendergrass/Miller advanced to the Elite Eight. Sanborn/Wilson advanced to the final four, while Fratzke/Frederick defeated the other OKWU doubles team of Pendergrass/Miller to also advance to the final four.
In the final four, Fratzke/Frederick defeated U. S. Naval Academy to advance to championship game. The OKWU doubles team of Sanborn/Wilson defeated State University of New York to also advance to the championship game.
Fratzke and Frederick prevailed and won the championship overall giving Sanborn and Wilson their only loss for the tournament. With two teams in the championship game–the duo of Colton Miller and Peter Pendergrass taking 5th place and C.J. Ross and Austin Gibson taking 16th–OKWU earned enough points to win the tournament.
OKWU has won National Collegiate Golf Croquet Championship three of the last five years: 2011, 2013, 2015.