HAWKS EARN BERTH TO USBC COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Megan Buja was one of three Hawks to bowl singles in Vegas.

Megan Buja was one of three Hawks to bowl singles in Vegas.

March 10, 2013

LAS VEGAS - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) will have a chance to win another Intercollegiate Team Championships (ITC) title as they secured a berth in the United State Bowling Congress (USBC) ITC event with a second place overall finish in the Las Vegas, Nev. sectional. UMES won the National Championship in 2011 and are just one of two teams to win both an NCAA and USBC Collegiate crown and the only one to do it in the same year.

The Hawks were one of seven NCAA teams at the college bowling sectional events to earn the automatic berth into the championship field. Only three earned a spot last season.

The event was split up over two days with each team bowling 32 games a day of Bakers. In NCAA terms that would mean eight best-of-four style matches each day. While the event is long and grueling UMES is no stranger to all day bowling. At stake was the right to advance to the 2013 xbowling Intercollegiate Team Championships which will be held April 18-20 at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln, Neb. The women's finals will be broadcast in May on CBS Sports Network.

After the first 16 games the Hawks sat in second place, trailing fellow NCAA school Stephen F. Austin by just two pins, 3045-3043. UMES posted an impressive 242 in the second game of the day and it would be the highest of any 16 games shot by any of the 13 teams in Vegas.

After 16 more games, UMES was still in second, but Stephen F. Austin was now looking up at the Hawks and the new leader was perennial college bowling power Wichita State. The Shockers posted a 2,982 over the first 16 games to sit in third, but an impressive 3158 over the second block catapulted them to first with a 6140. UMES posted a 3,004 of their own and totaled 6047, trailing Wichita by 93 pins heading into day two.

Sixteen games into Sunday UMES and Wichita State were the only two schools to post above 3,000 pin totals. The Hawks laid a solid 3020 but the Shockers extended their lead on the defending NCAA Champs with a 3247, 227 pins more and increasing their lead to 320 pins. Stephen F. Austin remained third with an 8979, trailing UMES' 9067 and Wichita State's 9387.

 

 

After the smoke cleared over the final 16 games, the two heavyweights went back and forth but Wichita was too much, tallying a 3320 over the final 16 games to the Hawks' 3241. UMES made a final game push, rolling a 246, the highest of anyone in the block, but it was too late despite finishing strong. The 246 tied with Wichita as the highest game rolled in the sectional. The two were again the only schools posting above 3K scores but the final pinfall favored Wichita State 12,707 to 12,308. Stephen F. Austin was a respectable third with 11,888 while Midland squeezed fourth away from Baker and totaled 11,796.

"After the first 16 games Wichita was on fire," said head coach Kristina Frahm. "We bowled well, really well, and I am proud of our team, we just got out bowled over the final games, but this is good for us, we know what we have to do to win another title. The most important thing is that we secured a chance to be there again, once you get there we know we can compete."

Sixteen teams qualified for the USBC Collegiate Championships, four from each regional. Webber State, who won UMES' section last year won there at Allentown, Pa. again. Pikeville was second and NCAA schools Kutztown and Sacred Heart took third and fourth respectively. Long Island and St. Francis (Pa.) just missed, taking fifth and sixth in the event.

Lindenwood won the Smyrna, Tenn. sectional with new NCAA school McKendree taking second. Marian-Indianapolis and MEAC rival Norfolk State took third and fourth to also earn a berth. Wisconsin-Whitewater won the Fairview Heights, Ill. sectional to score a win for an NCAA school. They were followed by Robert Morris-Ill., Wright State and Newman.

UMES' 12,308 was the third highest score recorded at any sectional and would have won in Smyrna and Fairview Heights. Only Wichita State in Vegas and Webber International in Allentown put up more pins.

On Friday of the weekend a trio of Hawks arrived early in Vegas to compete for personal glory in the Intercollegiate Team Singles Qualifier. Just like the team sectionals, the top four individuals make it to the Singles Championships. UMES did well, but the Shockers again stung the Hawks, taking all four spots available. It was particularly bitter for senior T'nia Falbo (Greensburg, Pa.) who was fifth. Falbo posted a high game of a 235 and tallied a 1,221 over six games, missing the cut by eight pins. Wichita's Tannya Roumimper took fourth with a 1,228. Alexis Ijams, Daria Kovalova and Jazreel Tan took the first through third spots. Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.) was 15th with a 1,119 with a high game of a 215 while Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico) was 37th with a 1,051. Her high game was a 188.

The Hawks now head to Nashville Tenn. next weekend for their first ever appearance in the Music City Classic. The week following they travel to Chesapeake, Va. to try and win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Championship. After securing their fourth northern division title last weekend, the Hawks look for their sixth conference crown this weekend.