The Sam Houston State University bowling team is coming off of a disappointing loss as they prepare for the third annual Stephen F. Austin Stormin’ Ladyjack Invitational this weekend.
All of the top ten bowing teams in the nation will be competing at the tournament, all of which are in the running for nationals, including SHSU. Those schools included Nebraska, Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Central Montana, McKendree, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State, Wisconsin- Whitewater and Fairleigh Dickinson.
“Our biggest competition will be Arkansas,” junior Stephanie Zavala said. “We are ahead of them in the head to head category, but since they are ranked first in the nation any win against them will be extremely beneficial to us.”
The Bearkats entered the second half of the season ranked second in the nation, which is the best start to a season in the program’s history. The team also notched four first place finishes out of their last five tournaments, three of which counted towards NCAA standing.
However, the Bearkats are coming off a sixth place finish at the Prairie View A&M Invitation, the team’s worst outing of the season.
SHSU started the tournament with a 0-5 start, but the Bearkats bounced back and ended up winning seven straight matches before falling to Fairleigh Dickenson in the fifth place match. While the outcome of the tournament was not expected, the team took it as a learning experience.
“The team as a whole learned how important short term memory in our sport truly is,” Zavala said. “If something doesn’t go our way, we need to forget about it and take care of the next one.”
Following the surprising defeat, the Bearkats dropped from No. 2 to No. 4 in February’s National Tenpins Coaches Association poll.
Zavala said the feeling of being underestimated by other coaches is unfavorable by the team, but they know what they are capable of and are determined to prove them wrong.
SHSU will head to Houston, TX on Feb. 10 for the three-day tournament that will be held at Copperfield Lanes.
“I believe this tournament is shaping up to be one of our best,” Zavala said.” The pattern SFA picked plays a lot of our strengths as a team, so we are really looking forward to going out there and taking care of business.”