National Champs set to defend title at NCAA Championships

Sam Houston State bowling will defend its national championship at the NCAA Championship this April.

The Bearkats were selected Wednesday as one of the eight teams to compete for the championship.

“Obviously you’re always nervous because you’re not in the tournament until your name is called,” SHSU head coach Brad Hagen said to Bearkat Athletics. “But we felt confident that we had done everything we had to do to put ourselves in a position to be selected.”

Although the Kats did not have as stacked of a resume as it had last season heading into the selection, the Bearkats nonetheless fared well to return to the championships. SHSU finished the season 87-42 in dual match play and 48-34 against the National Ten Pins Coaches Association’s top 20 teams. The Kats also went 25-25 against top 10 teams.

The Kats hold the number six seed of the eight-team tournament. The University of Nebraska enters the championship as the top seed after seeded second last year. SHSU defeated the four-time champion last April to earn its first NCAA Championship in school history.

Three other Southland League foes join SHSU in the big tournament. No. 3 Arkansas State, No. 4 Vanderbilt and rival No. 7 Stephen F. Austin State round out the league participants, accounting for half of the teams in the NCAA Tournament. Vanderbilt defeated Arkansas State In the inaugural Southland Bowling League Championships.

Fairleigh Dickinson, Central Missouri and Wisconsin-Whitewater make up the rest of the field. The Kats are 17-22 on the season against the NCAA Championships teams.

The Bearkats will begin the competition bowling in a five-person regular team game against each school. From there, the schools will be reseeded heading into bracket play.

“Whatever happens, I’m proud to the job our girls have done this year,” Hagen said.

The tournament will run April 9-11 at the Tropical Lanes in Saint Louis, Missouri.

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