The Sam Houston State University bowling team traveled to Orlando, Florida over the weekend to participate in the Wildcat Invitational, where they took home first place.
Last weekend’s victory was a historic win for the Bearkats. While it was the first official win of the season, it was also the second consecutive tournament win for the 2016-17 schedule and the first time the team has taken first place in two separate tournaments back to back.
“It’s pretty exciting to win two [tournaments] in row,” Head Coach Brad Hagen said. “Mentally, that is a huge uplift.”
Starting Sunday as the number two seed, the Bearkats began the day with a loss against the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Following the defeat, the Bearkats matched up against Stephen F. Austin and defeated the Lumberjacks, which set the team back up against the Red Wolves for the title match.
In the title match, the Bearkats and Red Wolves split the first two wins, but SHSU went on to take the last three victories to defeat the third ranked team in the country in a best of seven series.
“On Sunday, we were back to our original game plan, which was super beneficial for us,” Hagen said. “It definitely helped with confidence a lot when the official plan was back in play.”
On Saturday, the Bearkats went 4-1. The team started the day with two wins against Monmouth and Bethune-Cookman University. The only loss of the day was against the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, but the day ended with two more victories against Tulane University and Texas A&M Prairie View.
“The field dictated how we played the lanes on Saturday,” Hagen said. “We had to change on the fly and we didn’t execute as well given there was some hesitation on what worked the day before but didn’t work on Saturday.”
The Bearkats completed the first day of the tournament as the number one seed with a record of 3-1. Over Friday’s four matches, the team averaged a score of 202 and defeated North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, ASU and Alabama State University.
To prepare for the Fairleigh Dickson University Jamboree next weekend, Hagen says the team took a much-needed mental break on Monday, but will jump back into a regular practice schedule as the week progresses.
“This past weekend was mentally exhausting for us, travel wise,” Hagen said. “On Tuesday, we will get back to work and on Wednesday we will tighten up the screws so we can head out the door for New Jersey on Thursday.”
This weekend the Bearkats will be in Elmwood, New Jersey for the FDU Jamboree. The team will be going against many Division two powerhouse teams such as FDU, Valparaiso and Wisconsin Whitewater University.
“We’ll be ready for this weekend,” Hagen said. “It’s all about execution and learning as we go, and if we do that, we are going to be where we need to be by the end of the year.”