Bowling strikes third at nationals

Moore fist-pumps in celebration. Photo courtesy of Robert Hayes

By Madeline Hippeard / The Jambar

With a third place finish at the NCAA National Collegiate Bowling Championship on April 12 and 13, the Youngstown State University bowling team finished its best season in program history.

Like the conference and regional championship, the national championship was played in a mega-match format.

Youngstown State began its championship run with a 2-0 loss to Arkansas State University.

The Penguins trailed throughout the traditional match and fell, 987-860.

In the Baker round, the ’Guins took an early 23-point lead after two games, but the ’Guins were unable to keep it against Arkansas State. In total, the Red Wolves bowled 11 strikes in a row during games three and four, resulting in a 1,059-956 loss.

After its loss to Arkansas State, YSU fought off Sam Houston State University, 2-1, in an elimination match to remain in the tournament.

The Penguins lost the traditional round, 1,009-882. Despite the loss, the ’Guins threw seven strikes in a row in round one of the Baker match, finishing with a score of 233-202.

With the conclusion of round one, Youngstown State held a 16-point lead throughout the remainder of the Baker match and won, 1,013-979.

Head coach Doug Kuberski said the Penguins have treated the national tournament just like any other regular season week to remain focused.

“Our workouts are geared towards mental focus. We’ve had some book sessions, some classroom sessions together, one on one work together. Everything’s kind of geared towards keeping things focused on that process,” Kuberski said. “We don’t really get too up or down on the score. We try to make sure we evaluate things based on our process and our work.”

Because the teams split the traditional and Baker rounds, Youngstown State and Sam Houston moved to a best-of-seven Baker game to determine who would move on.

The Penguins won the best-of-seven match, 4-2. The team won games one and two with scores of 226-181 and 247-221. The ’Guins lost game three, 216-212, but responded with a 232-190 win in game four. Sam Houston extended the match with a 233-168 win in game five, but the Bearkats were no match for the Penguins as they took game six, 231-184.

Youngstown State’s championship run came to an end against Arkansas State when the ’Guins fell, 2-0.

Despite keeping an early 70-pin lead in the traditional point, the Penguins were unable to keep up with Arkansas State late in the match and fell, 964-851.

Arkansas State remained in the lead throughout the Baker round, defeating the ’Guins, 1,112-1,002.

Although Youngstown State did not win the tournament, the team took home several individual awards for its record breaking season.

Freshman Amanda Granata credited the team’s successful season to its strong start in the first tournaments of the year.

“The beginning of our season, even starting our very first tournament with the second place and then just seeing the potential of our team, it kind of just struck us that we can do this — we can win tournaments. So, we were able to put that together and win a couple events this season,” Granata said.

Kuberski was named the Bill Straub Division I National Coach of the Year, and three Penguins earned All-American honors.

Junior Jade Cote became YSU’s first athlete named to the First Team All-America by the National Tenpin Coaches Association.

Seniors Madyson Marx and Kristen Moore were named second team honorees. Moore was also the recipient of the Elite 90 award at the tournament.

All members of this year’s team will return next season, except fifth-year senior Megan Grams, who is out of eligibility for the 2024-2025 season.

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