By Brian Yauger
For those that didn’t get the message the first time, Youngstown State University bowling is here and ready to prove something.
Fresh off their first tournament title in program history — the YSU-hosted Columbia 300 Penguin Classic — the Penguins got right back to business, traveling to Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland and returning home with a second title in two weeks.
“I’m proud of how strong mentally we were throughout the weekend,” Penguins coach Doug Kuberski said in a press release. “All eight ladies played a big role in our success. It was a total team effort all-around to navigate the ups and down over the weekend, and we grew stronger together.”
In the Mount Shootout, the Penguins ended in first place out of 16 competitors with a 6-1 record in their matches, knocking over a total of 6,630 pins. They also posted the second-highest traditional match score with 1,014 pins, just shy of the hosting Mount St. Mary University’s total of 1,026.
Sophomore Emma Wrenn had a stellar performance on the first day of the tournament, posting scores of 195, 230, 233, 226 and 197 to end as the individual champion.
The Penguins got to compete at home the week prior. The Columbia 300 Penguin Classic was the first match hosted by the YSU bowling program.
“We had a great time, and I think that the energy on the team and the chemistry was ahead of schedule,” Kuberski said. “We’ve still got some work to do, but I was really happy with that, and the outcome was the cherry on top.”
On the individual side, Sarah Florence had the top YSU performance and second overall. Across five matches, she knocked over 1,093 pins. Florence finished just shy of first place, which was held by Angelique McKeny (1,107 pins) of Kentucky Wesleyan University.
Nikki Mendez was the other Penguin in the top five, placing fourth with a score of 1,044.
Getting a win over a team like Arkansas State University, a perennial powerhouse who the Penguins hadn’t beaten prior, puts the team in a good spot going forward. As the team gains confidence, the success will continue.
“I think this builds our confidence,” Kuberski said. “It’s always nice to know you’ve been there, and the girls have performed well under pressure. There were a lot of teams that we struck out in the back half of the game to win. I think learning how to handle that pressure is big.”
Going against Arkansas State, who Kuberski used to coach, provides the experience that the first-year coach has been trying to build with his team.
“It’s nice for us to bowl against ranked teams,” Kuberski said. “I really wanted us to make the bracket on Sunday so we would have a chance to bowl against those teams just to gain the experience.”
Up next for YSU is the Track Kat Klash in the first three days in November in Houston, Texas. The tournament is held by Southland Bowling League rivals Sam Houston State University.