Red Wolves roll through winter
The month of December started out with a bang for the A-State Women’s Bowling Team. The National Tenpin Coaches’ Association December poll saw the Red Wolves jump to No. 1, which is only the second time in school history the team has received the top ranking in the NTCA poll.
The Red Wolves received 659 total points and 10 first place votes to finish ahead of Maryland-Eastern Shore’s 628 points and 11 first place votes.
“It’s nice to have a great first half and have the coaches rank us first,” said women’s bowling coach Justin Kostick. “We need to continue this momentum into the second half.”
The Red Wolves were ranked fourth in the NTCA pre-season poll, but with the help of a 31-11 record and first place finishes at the Crusader Classic as well as the Big Red Invite, A-State was able to move up three spots to No. 1.
January began with A-State receiving another first place honor in the National Tenpin Coaches’ Association Media Poll for the first time in school history.
The team earned 218 points and six first place votes compared to Maryland-Eastern Shore’s 207 points and three first place votes.
The NTCA Media poll began during the 2011-2012 season and A-State’s highest finishes were at second place.
A-State was ranked fourth in the pre-season NTCA Media poll.
Amongst the top rankings in the NTCA polls, the Red Wolves also saw junior bowler Sarah Lokker earn a spot on Team USA.
Lokker registered a total pinfall of 6,325 during the Team USA trials Jan. 4-8 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Lokker finished 196 pins and six points behind the first place finisher to be the second qualifier to Team USA.
Advancing to the stepladder finals, Lokker faced the No. 3 seed, but lost in a close match by a score of 226-215 and finished third overall.
“I’m so proud of Sarah for making Team USA, and to be a member of both Junior Team USA and Team USA is an incredible achievement,” Kostick said.
“In the stepladder she had some great shots and then had some tough breaks when she was on the tougher lane. Nevertheless, it’s still quite an accomplishment.”
Rounding out what was missed while students were on semester break, the Red Wolves claimed another first place finish in the Mid-Winter Invitational.
A-State finished the first day of the tournament 4-1, winning four straight matches.
Their first day wins were against Stephen F. Austin by a total pinfall of 1,015-978, Elmhurst 917-793, Bethune-Cookman 932-884, and Wisconsin-Whitewater 1,066-877.
The Red Wolves faced the only other 4-0 team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, in their final match of day one and lost 994-954.
Day two of the Mid-Winter Invitational saw A-State end once again with a 4-1 finish.
The Red Wolves won three straight matches, the first of which was against McKendree 1,066-854, Central Missouri 1,027-942, and UAB 1,072-879.
A-State’s only loss of day two came against Sam Houston State 1,007-959, but the Red Wolves bounced back in their final game, beating Vanderbilt 1,004-929.
Sophomore Stephanie Mims made her first career all-tournament team by recording the fourth highest total pinfall of day two, 1,071.
Mims also averaged 214.2 pins per match and also scored a high score of 243 in A-State’s second match of the day.
“I’m very proud of Stephanie for earning her first all-tournament honors in her career,” Kostick said. “She came through big for us today and the rest of the team was solid as well.”
On the final day of the Mid-Winter Invitational, the Red Wolves began by beating Nebraska four frames to two.
The total pinfalls of the game were 221-144, 182-159, 188-170, 172-225, 173-175 and 208-157.
In the championship game, A-State defeated Sam Houston State in a 4-0 sweep by total pinfalls of 202-128, 205-188, 228-214 and 204-171.
“We were fortunate to get off to a fast start in the match against Nebraska,” Kostick said.
“The lanes were tougher in this match and it showed, but we fought through it and got the win.
We got two wins over quality opponents today and being able to win the tournament in Jonesboro is something special.”
A-State finished the weekend 10-2, improving to an overall record of 41-13, as well as winning their third championship in four tournaments this season.
The Red Wolves are set to be back in action Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in Arlington, Texas at the Prairie View A&M Invitational.
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