By Cameron Stubbs
The pins are falling again as the Youngstown State University bowling team rolled into the start of its season, hosting the 2022 MOTIV Penguin Classic for the third time in school history at the Holiday Bowling alley in Struthers, Ohio.
The No. 9 ranked Penguins finished second place in the tournament, led by junior Kristen Moore who was named to the all-tournament team, as she knocked down a total of 1,701 pins, landing her in fifth-place.
The tournament started off with a “strike” of a Day One, as the Penguins started 4-1 in head-to-head matches.
Matches against Saint Francis University, No. 6 Arkansas State University, No. 20 Lewis University and Walsh University each resulted in wins for the Penguins, with the only loss coming against the No. 3 ranked University of Nebraska 1,044-976.
Arkansas State is a familiar foe as the last time the Penguins and Red Wolves met, the Penguins season ended 2-1 in the Lansing Regional.
Sophomore Jade Cote reflected on what it’s like to face the Red Wolves again.
“We lost to them, but they are great friends,” Cote said. “Yeah, we want to beat them, but also when they win we’re happy for them.”
Success continued as Day Two of the tournament saw the Penguins knock down 5,504 pins, as they again went 4-1 in head-to-head matches.
The day included wins over Aurora University, Mercyhurst University, Wright State University and Medaille College with the only loss coming by the hands of Valparaiso University by a score of 966-935.
Junior Madyson Marx took over the day as she bowled nine-straight strikes in the 315-pin win versus Wright State and finished with a score of 277, the fourth best performance in school history.
The last day of the tournament involved three traditional matches and one best-of-seven Baker match.
Duquesne University took down the Penguins in the first traditional match 1,004-986. Morgan State University and the University of Central Missouri both felt the wrath of the Penguins as Youngstown State squeezed wins out of those matchups.
The Penguins then met the Corn Huskers in the championship match, where the Corn Huskers chucked the Penguins 221-165.
While finishing as runner-ups in the tournament, consistency was key during each performance and head coach Doug Kuberski said it is one of the main goals for the team.
“We had waves of greatness last year,” Kuberski said. “I want us to maintain that throughout the year with A. Being more consistent and B. Being better communicators.”
The team is much younger this year as the three seniors from last year have departed from Youngstown State, leaving Megan Grams as the lone senior. Grams has realized she is in a leadership role and said she is ready for the challenges to come.
“It’s a little weird because I’m used to someone being older than me on the team,” Grams said. “I’m trying to step up a little bit more and be a mentor because I’ve been here for four years and I’ve been in every position possible.”
Up next, the Penguins will travel to Coram, New York to participate in the DezyStrong Classic hosted by Adelphi University on Oct. 28 through Oct. 30.
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