HAWKS EARN TOP SEED AFTER QUALIFYING AT USBC's ITC
April 18, 2013
LINCOLN, Neb. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) didn't like the way their 2013 NCAA Championships ended. One pin has a tendency to do that. So they did something about it. As one of two NCAA teams whose season didn't end last weekend in Canton, Mich., the Hawks headed to the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Intercollegiate Team Championships (ITC) determined to make sure one pin didn't stand in their way again.
UMES opened qualifying at the ITCs in first place, earning the coveted crystal pin and going 6-0, three of which count to their NCAA record. From there they would post two more wins to remain one of four teams still undefeated heading into day two.
The format is different at the USBC Collegiate Championships and it played right to the Hawks. No more team games, just Baker match play and UMES excelled. They were 24 games, six, four-game blocks. Coach Kristina Frahm lined up the Hawks just as they were last week, freshman Kristie Lopez (Ponce, Puerto Rico), Megan Buja (Rockford, Ill.), Mariana Alvarado (Leon, Mexico), Anggie Ramirez (Bogota, Colombia) and T'nia Falbo (Greensburg, Pa). It seemed to work and UMES got senior Valentina Collazos (Cali, Colombia) into the lineup as well.
The first four games came against Webber International. A National Champion in their own right, Webber won the Allentown sectional and had the second highest pinfall in sectionals. The Hawks took advantage of the fresh oil and blasted the Warriors 893-859 over four games. They then went on to tackle last weekend's foe the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 850-815. That counts as one NCAA win, UMES would get two more.
Sacred Heart was up next and UMES put up an impressive 912 to the Pioneers' 884. That would be the Hawks' highest score of the day. The third NCAA win came in block four as UMES tacked Stephen F. Austin 870-811. The Hawks tallied a win in game five against Midland, 841-731.
One of the best match-ups of the day was the sixth and final game (final four blocks). UMES faced off against Wichita State. The team that won the Las Vegas sectional when the Hawks took second, weren't up to the challenge on the opening day. UMES bowled over the Shockers 819-739. After all was said and done, UMES had earned the top overall seed, totaling 5,185 pins, 128 pins better than second place McKendree, who is a traditionally a college bowling program but are in their first year as an NCAA school. Lindenwood took third with 4,969 while Webber International was fourth with 4,944. Wichita State was in fifth with 4,943 pins.
NCAA schools Stephen F. Austin, Sacred Heart and Wisconsin-Whitewater were seventh through ninth. Norfolk State was 12th and Kuztown was 13th. Newman was last in 16th place and would draw the Hawks first to start the match-play bracket.
Ironically, five of the NCAA schools would fall in the red half of the bracket, including UMES. Stephen F. Austin and McKendree were on the blue side of the bracket.
In those games UMES rolled a high of a 257, which was against Stephen F. Austin. Over the 24 games, the Hawks were over 200 in 20 of them.
With 16 men's and 16 women's teams the USBC has little time to waste and they start their bracket play on their first day. By 3:00 p.m. qualifying was done and by 4:30 p.m. the Hawks were taking on Newman.
Against the Jets, UMES never skipped a beat. While Newman did muster a couple of games, the Hawks rolled to a 4-2 win. UMES won game one 215-195 before faltering in games two and three (211-234, 194-211). After a scare from the 16 seed, the Hawks rebounded quickly to post wins in the next three games (188-162, 223-199, 234-167).
Up next were the Warhawks. The team that beat UMES in qualifying last weekend jumped out on the Hawks to take a 234-202 game one win. UMES bounced right back with a 225-213 win in game two but UWW won game three 212-186. Just like they did in the previous match, UMES won the next three games 225-215, 197-192 and 222-197.
The Hawks are one of just four teams to escape day one undefeated. Tomorrow morning they face the five-seed Wichita State at 9:00 a.m. ET. A win means a bye into the semi-final round at 4:15 p.m. ET. A loss means they bowl again in the 2:30 p.m. match.
In other play, UWW topped Sacred Heart in round one but the Pioneers would advance with a win over Newman, eliminating them. Wisconsin-Whitewater faces Norfolk State tomorrow morning. The Spartans of NSU pulled quite the upset. After falling to Wichita State they would eliminate the four-seed Webber International in the second round match. Webber, who lost to Kutztown in round one, went home surprisingly early. Kutztown fell to Wichita State in round two to make it an all NCAA bottom bracket on the red side as they face Sacred Heart in the morning.
On the blue side McKendree topped Midland in round one. Midland would later be eliminated by Stephen F. Austin who fell to Wright State in round one. Coach Amber Lemke's squad will face Marian in the morning who fell to Lindenwood in round one before falling to Pikeville in round two. McKendree, the second overall seed fell to 10th seeded Wright State in the second round.
"We had a great day one," said Frahm. "I think having bowled last weekend helped, we never had any downtime. I think the way we lost too helped motivate us for today."