Knocking off No. 2 ranked Arkansas State twice in three meetings, the Sam Houston women’s bowling team swept to an 11-1 record and the team championship at the Tulane Invitational in Kenner, La., this weekend.
The title marks the first time in the program’s three-year history the Bearkats have started the season by bringing home the championship trophy in an intercollegiate tournament.
With a perfect 9-0 mark during the first two days of the event in team baker and team individual matches Friday and Saturday, respectively, the Kats drew one of the top two seeds in best-of-seven bracket play Sunday.
Arkansas State defeated SHSU 4-3 in the opening match of bracket action Sunday. The Kats bounced back for a 4-3 win over Jackson State then topped Arkansas State in the bracket play rematch 4-3 in the finals to hoist the championship trophy.
Stephen F. Austin and Jackson State finished third and fourth in the 11-team event behind runner-up Arkansas State.
“Sunday was about continuing to maintain our composure, fill frames, and focus on finishing what we started,” SHSU head coach Brad Hagen said. “We wanted to come to Tulane and make a statement and we did. This team is acting as they've been together for years and it’s paying off major dividends."
Senior Michelle Secours and juniors Neishka Cardona and Kimi Davidson are the only returning players from last year's squad that finished No. 9 in the final national rankings. Transfers Rebecca Pittser and Kelsey Smith and freshmen Erin Brown, Anna Groce and Hannah Harrison are newcomers for the Kats this year.
“I can't be more proud or commend the girls enough on how well they acomposed themselves through out this event as well as staying in the moment,” Hagen added.
Saturday the team rolled up victories in total pins team play over Jackson State (978-823), No. 10-ranked Stephen F. Austin (865-852), Louisiana Tech (949-894), No. 2 Arkansas State (1002-965) and No. 17 Prairie View A&M 908-821.
Friday the Bearkats were 4-0 in team baker matches, knocking down 3761 pins. Sam Houston defeated Bethune-Cookman 766-638, North Carolina A&T 665-655, Grambling 836-542 and Southern 698-582. The Bearkats also rolled a score of 784 in their bye round due to the odd number of teams in the field.
Following the top four finishers in the tournament were North Carolina A&T in fifth, Prairie View A&M in sixth, Bethune Cookman seventh, Louisiana Tech eighth, Tulane ninth, Southern 10th and Grambling 11th.