Ohio Bowling Hall of Fame nod a pleasant surprise for Via

It was an unexpected but welcome letter that arrived in his parents’ mailbox.

“I think surprised is the perfect word for it,” Chris Via said. “I had no idea I was nominated or even that I met the criteria.”

Via, however, checked both boxes as the Springfield bowler will be inducted into the Ohio Bowling Hall of Fame for superior performance in the pro division for bowlers who have claimed a professional title. He and the other 2023 inductees will be recognized at the state banquet in May.

“It wasn’t even remotely a thought at this point,” Via said. “It was definitely a holy crap type of moment.”

At 31, Via wasn’t expecting an honor of this magnitude.

“It seems like a career capstone type of award, and I feel like, if anything, I’m more in the prime of my career right now,” he said. “It does make me feel kind of old,” he added with a smile.

Via has built a solid bowling resume over the past decade including winning his first major PBA title – the U.S. Open in 2021. That same year, he won the USBC Open Championships Regular All-Events title.

Via also rolled two 300 games on national television during the 2021 PBA Tour season – just the 30th and 32nd televised 300 games in PBA history. He became just the third player to bowl multiple televised 300 games and the first to do so in the same season.

The five-time Team USA member has earned three gold and four silver medals in Team USA competition since 2016.

But long before Via started competing in the professional ranks, he was collecting titles including the 2016 U.S. Amateur Championship.

In the collegiate ranks, Via was a three-time NCBCA First Team All-American at Notre Dame College (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14). He was also a two-time member of Junior Team USA (2011-12).

While the honor is still a bit surreal for the inductee, Via is humbled by the recognition.

“I think with any sport, the hall of fame is the best of the best,” he said. “So, it’s amazing to be part of it. I just didn’t think it would happen this soon.”

And while the banquet is on his upcoming itinerary, it remains to be seen whether he makes it to Columbus as he will compete in the PBA Players Championship, which gets underway on May 2 in New Jersey. The championship rounds are slated for May 12-13, the same weekend as the hall of fame banquet.

“It’s a win-win either way,” he said.

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