The Stephen F. Austin State University bowling team has made winning a habit and once again have found themselves in the NCAA Championships for a third consecutive year.
For a team that is just eight years old, SFA Bowling is the most successful athletic program at the university.
The SFA Ladyjacks are ready to yet again bowl over the competition at the NCAA Championships. As the reigning national champions, they're looking to defend their title and win the NCAA Championship for a second straight year.
“It was unreal. I don't think words can describe what it's like to win a national championship. It still doesn't feel real, and we're going back a year later,” said SFA bowler Paige Kraushaar. “It's just an awesome feeling that we all want to experience again.”
“Being on stage for the NCAA championship is totally different than anything I've ever experienced,” said SFA bowler Stephanie Schwartz. “Winning last year was on a whole new level of anything I’ve ever won before.”
Going into this year's NCAA Championships, the target on SFA has magnified as each team has bowled their best to try and beat the best.
“Going into it this year knowing we have a target on our back and knowing that we're defending the title, we just have to bowl our own game,” said SFA bowling coach Steve Lemke. “It's a new tournament. You can't think about last year. You can't think about what happened in the past. Each day is a new day, and you have to bring your best no matter what.”
SFA has a rich history of making it to the NCAA Championship finals the last two years. Both of those finals have been against Nebraska where the series for taking the crown is split at 1-1. If these two meet again, the Ladyjacks will look to one-up the Cornhuskers in this series with a spare by beating them this second go around.
“I would like to see Nebraska for a third time. We're 1-1 with each other right now, so to see who gets the third and final one would be an awesome trilogy for it all,” Lemke said.
“We just need to carry our confidence over there. We all know we can do it, and I just think we need to believe in ourselves, keep our mental game strong and be there for each other,” Kraushaar said.
“I think we're pretty confident about it. We know we can do it. We did it last year, so we just got to keep that mindset and keep our heads up the whole time,” Schwartz said.
The NCAA Championships will start Thursday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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