By John Ostapowicz
The Youngstown State University women’s bowling team’s season ended April 9. The Penguins fell 2-1 to Arkansas State University in an elimination mega-match at the NCAA Lansing Regional.
In the match, Youngstown State finished third out of four teams, wrapping up its second-consecutive NCAA Tournament. The bowling team dropped its first-round match April 8 to the Red Wolves but were able to stay competitive by sweeping Alabama State University in an elimination match.
The Penguins played a rematch against Arkansas State and won the traditional point, holding a 48-pin lead after one game of the Quint Baker round. After winning the point, the Red Wolves fought off the Penguins to secure the victory.
Leadoff bowler junior Megan Grams had the highest score on the pair with a 233. Freshmen Lyndsay Ennis and Jade Cote and senior Emma Dockery each bowled over 200 to try to keep the match within reach.
With the season-ending loss, the careers of seniors Sarah Florence, Emma Wrenn and Dockery came to an end.
In Dockery’s five-year career with the Penguins, she has set the record for total pinfall with 32,748 and traditional matches played with 173. Dockery endured a stretch of three head coaches in three semesters and has been a two-time NCAA Tournament participant.
Wrenn joined the bowling program as a transfer from Saint Francis University before head coach Doug Kuberski took over in 2019. She was able to rewrite the school record book four times as she holds the highest average of 197.75 pins, Baker frame average of 19.79%, strike percentage of 47.92 and fill frame percentage of 83.61.
After Youngstown State, Wrenn will step away from bowling in order to focus on her career, but will likely revisit the sport in the future.
“I accepted a job at Medline Industries back home in Arlington Heights as a pricing specialist to create certain contracts with our vendors. I will possibly be in bowling leagues,” Wrenn said.
April 20 was a milestone day for Wrenn as she was voted to the All-Southland Bowling League Second Team.
Florence transferred from Long Island University Brooklyn to Youngstown State. By her fifth year as a Penguin, she was named to the NCTA All-Academic Team five times.
She was also the first bowler in program history to be voted to Academic All-District by College Sports Information Directors of America as well as becoming the 22nd Youngstown State athlete in any sport to be named Academic All-American.
With careers ending for some, new ones are just beginning for others. Cote and Ennis were both named to the National Tenpin Coaches Association All-Rookie First Team for the 2021-22 season April 14. Youngstown State is the only school in the country to have more than one student-athlete named to the All-Rookie Team.
In an interview with ysusports.com, Kuberski expressed his faith and excitement on how well the two freshmen performed this season.
“It was fun to see Jade and Lyndsay really find their strides as freshmen,” Kuberski said.
Cote set three school records in her first collegiate season as a Penguin. She averaged 205.13 pins in traditional games – which is five more pins than the record – heading into the season.
Her school record for single-season strike percentage by striking on 51.92% of her attempts was the highlight of her young career. Cote’s 225.60 average at the Big Red Invitational in February was the highest ever by a Penguin at a tournament.
Ennis showed dominance in her first year as she averaged 199.49 pins in traditional games which was the fifth-highest mark on the team this season. Heading into the championships, she ranked fourth among freshmen in scoring average at 19.66 pins in the tournament.
Before Youngstown State, Ennis earned a position on the 2022 Junior Team USA for her performance at the 2021 Junior Gold Championships. She had the fifth-highest qualifying total in the U18 division to earn one of six positions.
The end of this season marks another historic performance for the women’s bowling team. Next season, it looks to ride that momentum with new players and new opportunities.