SFA bowling heading to national tournament as at-large bid

SFA bowling heading to national tournament as at-large bid
(Source: KTRE Sports)

From SFA Athletics

The 2016 national champions are headed back to the NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship. The SFAbowling team gained its fourth NCAA at-large bid since 2015 and first since 2017 Wednesday afternoon with its selection to the 2019 NCAA Bowling Championship as announced by the women’s bowling selection committee via a live broadcast on NCAA.com.

The sixth-ranked Ladyjacks will take on the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Prairie View A&M in the opening round of the 2019 NCAA Bowling Championship Friday, April 5 at 1 p.m. inside Emerald Bowl in Houston. The 2019 championship field is comprised of 12 teams with eight schools rewarded automatic qualification through conference championships. SFA is one of four NCAA national title contenders who received an at-large selection Wednesday afternoon. Ranked No. 1 in the NCAA’s RPI rankings, Vanderbilt joins second-ranked McKendree, fourth-ranked Sam Houston State and third-ranked Nebraska as the four teams placed in the championship bracket.

The remaining eight teams are set to compete in opening-round matches April 5-7. Opening-round teams and matchups are determined by the NCAA women’s bowling committee based on selection criteria and geography. Advancing teams from the opening round will be placed in the championship bracket. The 2019 NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship will then continue at RollHouse Wickliffe in Wickliffe, Ohio, outside of Cleveland Thursday-Saturday, April 11-13 to decide a national champion.

The Mid-American Conference and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission are the hosts. Tickets for the championship can be purchased on NCAA.com prior to the championship. The championship bracket will be double-elimination, with each round consisting of a best-of-three match that includes the use of three team game formats - Baker total pinfall, five-person traditional team match and a best-of-seven Baker match. The champion will be determined using a best-of-seven Baker match. The championship final will air at 5:30 p.m. CST, Saturday, April 13 on ESPNU.

Vanderbilt University won the 2018 NCAA Women’s Bowling Championship at Tropicana Lanes in St. Louis, Missouri, by defeating McKendree. A total of four Southland Bowling League teams will be vying for a national title at the NCAA championship with league champion and fourth-ranked Sam Houston State joined by top-ranked Vanderbilt and No. 5 Arkansas State, in addition to sixth-ranked SFA. Owning a 20-12 match record at the NCAA Bowling Championship, the Ladyjacks return to the NCAA tournament after a one-year hiatus.

SFA has gone 81-46 (.638) overall in both traditional team and Baker matches during the 2018-19 season, posting four top-three finishes and claiming multiple tournament titles for the first time since 2013-14. The Ladyjacks won the 28-team Kutztown Invitational in Limerick, Pennsylvania, (Jan. 18-20) and took home the tournament crown among 14 teams at the inaugural Sunshine State Winter Classic (Feb. 8-10) in Orlando. Claiming a pinfall total of 125,958 across 10 tournaments this season, SFA went an unblemished 13-0 en route to its Sunshine State Winter Classic title, marking the first time in program history the Ladyjacks have gone undefeated for the entirety of a tournament.

An SFA bowler earned tournament MVP honors three different times throughout the regular season as senior Dakotah Hazlewood finished as the top bowler at the Kutztown Invitational, while fellow senior Paige Beeney joined Hazlewood with MVP accolades at the Sunshine State Winter Classic. The following weekend freshman Carlene Beyer shone, taking home the MVP award as the top individual at SFA’s fifth annual Stormin’ Ladyjack Classic (Feb. 15-17) in Dallas. In 2016, the Ladyjacks became the school’s first team national champion of the Division I era by ousting then reining champion Nebraska in seven games to capture the NCAA Bowling Championship (North Brunswick, New Jersey). SFA capped an impressive run at the national title by winning the final six matches of the tournament. In 2017, the Ladyjacks went 4-5 at the NCAA Bowling Championship held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, finishing seventh among the eight-team tournament field. SFA was a national finalist in 2015, reaching the title match of the NCAA Bowling Championship before falling in six games to Nebraska after starting the tournament 8-1 in Richmond Heights, Missouri. Stay tuned to SFAJacks.com, as well as SFA’s social media platforms, for complete coverage of Ladyjack bowling throughout the spring.