Men's and women's teams that qualify for the 2009 ITCs will be competing for The Helmer Cup, USBC Collegiate's national championship trophy.
The 2009 USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships, sponsored by Pepsi and Storm Bowling Products, will be held at The Cherry Bowl in Rockford, Ill., April 15-18, 2009.

This year's event will mark the third time that The Cherry Bowl has hosted intercollegiate bowling's national championship team competition. The 32-lane center hosted the 2006 ITCs as well as the 2005 Intercollegiate Bowling Championships, which was the former title of the ITCs.

The Cherry Bowl proprietor, John Andersen, is thrilled to have the tournament returning to his center in 2009.

"The Intercollegiate Team Championships is a great event," Andersen said. "There are monstrous amounts of pressure on every ball, the crowd is right on top of you, and you see a great deal of camaraderie that you don't really see as much with other sports. It's a really intense competition, and we feel lucky to have it back at The Cherry Bowl."

But the people at The Cherry Bowl are not the only ones happy to see the ITCs return to Rockford. David Preece, President and CEO of the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, also is excited about the opportunity.

"We're really pleased to have the Intercollegiate Team Championships back for a third time," Preece said. "Not only does it have a great economic impact on the community, but also it gives our staff an opportunity to work with wonderful local organizers and sponsors as well as a lot of great student athletes. We have a really great time with this event."

The tournament will feature the top 16 women's and top 16 men's bowling teams from across the country. Those teams will have earned their places in the ITC field by having finished in the top four at one of four sectional tournaments, which will be held March 14-15, 2009 in Allentown, Pa., Chattanooga, Tenn., Fairview Heights, Ill., and Las Vegas, respectively.

The ITCs are contested using the Baker format, which features five bowlers combining their efforts to bowl one team game. The lead-off bowler on each team bowls frames one and six. The second bowler bowls frames two and seven, and so on down the line.

Tournament competition will start with 32 games to establish seeds. Once the seeding process is completed, teams will begin five rounds of double-elimination, best-of-seven match play.
Four teams will remain after the completion of round five. Those four teams will advance to the semifinals.

The semifinal winners will advance to the championship round, which will be a best-of-three, winner-take-all match that is taped for television and aired nationally on CBS College Sports Television.

"The Intercollegiate Team Championships is one of the most exciting events in bowling, and I have no doubt The Cherry Bowl will once again do a great job of hosting it," USBC Collegiate Manager Gary Brown said. "I want to encourage people from the Rockford area and beyond to come out and support the event because it is something they won't soon forget."