UMES BOWLING EARNS BID TO NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR
March 29, 2006
Princess Anne, MD - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Women's Bowling Team sat on the edge of the seats today beginning at 11:00 am. That was the earliest they could receive the call. The call was an invitation to bowl at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships. The call came, not until almost 1:00 pm, but it came nonetheless. The Hawks are headed back to the tournament for the third straight year.
"It is such a relief," Head Coach Sharon Brummell told the media immediately after she hung up the phone. Eight of her ten bowlers, members of the University's athletic staff, and the media all sighed a breath of relief with her, knowing her team was tournament bound.
"It's the best feeling, this is what we worked so hard for all season long," Brummell added.
The Hawks, continually ranked in the top eight in the nation this year and boasting a resume of victories over the country's top teams, were still a little worried. "I was worried," said Brummell. "We know we bowled great, we started a little shaky but picked it up and have been bowling great. We knew we had defeated all of the top teams this year head-to-head but our record wasn't outstanding." That record, a solid 74-37 isn't a shabby one, but Brummell was afraid that some teams with better records, but fewer matches bowled, might be chosen, even though their strength of schedule wasn't as good as the Hawks.
Worry no more.
UMES will head to their third championship in the same many years of the event has existed and after finishing seventh in the country the last two years have a hunger for more. "I want to win," said senior co-captain Sandra Maresca, "but I know we are capable of at least being third or fourth, were just bowling that well right now."
The Hawks are on a roll, so to speak. They are coming off a second place finish at the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Qualifier, which earned them a shot at the USBC Championships a week after NCAAs. That is a field that also includes club teams and another shot at a National Title. Still, the Hawks want the NCAA trophy in the worst way. "The format of the championship, being a bracket, doesn't account for pin fall and the way we are bowling anything can happen and I hope it does," added Brummell. "I think we have a great shot at doing very well."
"We are coming off a second place finish at ECACs and winning the MEAC Championship," added Maresca. "So we think we are getting better and better right now."
The East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) is a regional championship where the nation's number two and four teams competed, as well as several other top 25 squads. The Hawks were just out of first to Fairleigh Dickinson University who is currently ranked second in the nation.
The Hawks also won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) title for the first time since 2000-2001 where they topped four other ranked teams including Bethune-Cookman who finished third and earned a spot with the Hawks at the NCAA Championships. It will be their second straight appearance.
The other six teams selected include the University of Nebraska, Lincoln who has won the only two National Championships, Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey City University, Central Missouri State University, Vanderbilt University and Alabama A & M University. Vanderbilt is the only team in the field the Hawks haven't topped this season.
The teams are all at-large bid recipients and are not seeded entering the event.
The qualifying round, which determines a team's seed based on total pin fall, will have each team bowling four five-person regular team games and Baker matches completed in four best-of-five-game Baker sets. The fourth Baker set will serve as the position round. The pin fall from the position round will serve as the tie-breaker. The Baker format allows five team members to follow each other in order, each bowling a complete frame until a complete (10-frame) game is bowled.
Based on the qualifying round, teams are placed in a double-elimination bracket. Teams compete against each other in a best-of-seven Baker-style bowling competition. Ties within a Baker game will be decided by a ninth and 10th frame roll off.
UMES is still the only team to bowl a perfect Baker game in competition, that coming against Nebraska in the 2004 National Championship.
The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and Prairie View A&M University will co-host the championship, which will be held April 13-15 at Emerald Bowl in Houston, Texas.
Tickets can be purchased at Emerald Bowl during the event or by calling 713/286-4803 prior to the championship.
The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, won the title in 2005, defeating Central Missouri State University in the championship match in Orlando, Florida.
For more information about the National Collegiate Women's Bowling Championship, log on to www.ncaasports.com.
Portions of this story are taken from the official NCAA press release.