The Youngstown State bowling team kicks off a busy spring schedule this weekend as it travels to New Jersey for the Northeast Classic. The three-day tournament will take place Friday through Sunday at Bolero Deptford in Deptford, NJ, and Sacred Heart and LIU will host the event together.
Pending adequate internet access at the bowling center, all of YSU’s 13 matches during the tournament will be live streamed on the YSUsports YouTube channel. The results will also be posted on the @ysubowling Twitter during the tournament.
The Northeast Classic will follow a standard format of three days and 13 games. The 18 teams in the field will bowl in five Baker games on Friday at 10:55 AM, and five traditional games will begin on Saturday at 9:25 AM. The teams are then classified based on the total pinfall of the first two days before Sunday. bracket matches, the winners of which are determined in a best-of-seven Baker format.
Preview the field
Youngstown State will be one of 18 teams in the field this weekend, all 18 teams getting votes in December’s NTCA Top 25 Poll. Top-ranked Sam Houston, No. 2 McKendree, No. 4 North Carolina A&T and No. 5 Vanderbilt are the teams that are above the eighth-ranked Penguins.
Full field: #1 Sam Houston, #2 McKendree, #4 North Carolina A&T, #5 Vanderbilt, #8 Youngstown State, #9 Mount St. Mary’s, #10 (tie) Maryville, #10 (tie) Stephen F. Austin, #12 Duquesne, #14 Delaware State, #15 Fairleigh Dickinson, #17 LIU, #18 Maryland-Eastern Shore, #19 Sacred Heart, #20 Wisconsin-Whitewater, #22 Lincoln Memorial, #25 Monmouth, rv Wilmington
Southland Bowling League teams: Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Vanderbilt, Youngstown State
Previously at the Northeast Classic
This is the second time in the last three seasons that Youngstown State will bowl in the tournament co-hosted by Sacred Heart and LIU. Called the Northeast Invitational in 2020, the Penguins won their last seven head-to-head games, finishing fifth out of 26 teams. YSU closed the tournament by knocking out Maryland-Eastern Shore, Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech, all of whom were in the top 11 in the NTCA poll, in bracket play. Individually, Nikki Mendez finished 11th with an average of 203 to earn all team honors.
Scouting the Penguins
Youngstown State finished in the top six in each of its four tournaments in the fall and started the season with consecutive runner-up finishes at the MOTIV Penguin Classic and the Adelphi Dezy Strong Classic. The Penguins were 35-17 overall in head-to-head games in the fall and held a 19-14 record against ranked squads, including 7-7 against teams in the top 10. Strong showing allowed YSU to stay in the top 10 of the National Tenpin Coaches Association Top 25 Poll for the ninth time in the last 10 polls.
Three individuals are on pace to set the program record for the highest average in traditional play for a season. Junior Megan Grams had a breakout fall putting her in three of the best five individual games ever by a Penguin, and her average of 206.65 is currently 6.61 pins higher than the current record of 200.04. Freshman Jade Cote averaged 203.38 in 13 of the possible 20 games, and senior Emma Wrenn averaged 201.65. Wrenn is also on track to set school records for fill frame percentage and reserve percentage.
Depth was a common theme for the Penguins in the fall as three different players led the team in traditional scoring in just four tournaments. Grams was the top finisher in the first two tournaments with a couple of top-five finishes, and Lyndsay Ennis and Cote were the top Penguin winners in the last two tournaments. In all, YSU had 11 top-25 individual finishes.
Youngstown State will have a quick turnaround for its next tournament as it will travel to Arlington, Texas for the prestigious PVAMU Invitational. The three-day tournament at the International Training and Research Center will take place from January 28-30 and will feature many of the country’s top teams.