PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville women’s bowling team came in second in perhaps the largest field of the season last weekend in the Hoosier Classic in Indianapolis, while the men finished in the middle of the pack against even more squads.
The teams now turn their attention to postseason play, as they head to Smyrna, Tenn., to compete in the Mid-South Conference tournament this weekend. Both the men and women were a perfect 18-0 in three MSC events this season and will receive first-place byes in the opening round of the tournament.
On Wednesday, the teams learned that their road to the USBC tournament in Lincoln, Neb., will go through the brutal sectional qualifier in Allentown, Penn. On the men’s side, three Top 10 teams, four of the top 12, six Top 20 teams and eight of the top 33 are in Allentown.
Only the top four from each sectional qualifier will make it to Lincoln.
No. 3 Morehead Stat heads the Allentown qualifier, joined by No. 6 Webber International, No. 9 Notre Dame (Ohio) and No. 12 Rochester Tech. Pikeville follows at No. 19, followed by No. 20 William Paterson.
In the women’s draw, the field is just as tough. No. 3 Webber International is the top seed, with Pikeville, ranked sixth, following. No. 12 Robert Morris-Peoria, No. 16 Viterbo and No. 19 Notre Dame (Ohio) makes five Top 20 team, with No. 23 St. Francis (Penn.) and No. 30 Ursuline giving it six Top 30 teams. Niagara County CC (No. 33), Erie CC (37) and Long Island-Brooklyn (38) make it a very deep section.
Meanwhile in Indianapolis the women’s team competed against 55 teams, the Bears came in second in both the open classification and in the eight-team tournament. Wichita State was the top seed with a nine-game total of 8819, finishing some 239 pins ahead of the Bears in second place. Two other NAIA teams, Webber International and Robert Morris, followed with Lindenwood completing the top five.
In the tournament, the Bears knocked off McKendree in the opening round and Wright State in the semifinals before falling to No. 4 Robert Morris in the championship.
Two individuals bowled in all nine games and both finished in the Top 10. Junior Christina Halen made the all-tournament team with an average of 196.889, while senior Brandy Hensley was ninth while averaging 195.111.
Other top scorers for the Bears include sophomore Astrid Valiente with a 193, sophomore Brianna Larson at 190 and freshman Katelyn Simpson with an average of 187.
The men faced an even more daunting challenge, with 77 teams competing on the lanes. Coach Kyle Wilson’s unit finished 39th in the event.
Morehead State was the overall winner in the tournament, averaging 1020.222. Pikeville’s average was 900.889.
Among the top bowlers for the Bears were sophomore Lucas Hohnstein at 191, senior Kyle McInerney with an average of 188 and senior Brian Wicker at 179.