The Youngstown State bowling team will travel to a national power for the second straight weekend as it heads to Nebraska for the Big Red Invitational. The three-day tournament at Hollywood Bowl will be Friday through Sunday, and the Penguins will compete in 12 matches against eight other teams.
All 12 of YSU’s matches throughout the tournament will be streamed live on the YSUsports YouTube channel, pending a strong wireless internet signal inside the bowling center. Results throughout the weekend will be posted on the @ysubowling Twitter feed.
The format for the Big Red Invitational is different from the majority of Youngstown State’s tournaments. Teams will bowl in 12 matches this weekend instead of the standard 13, and the tournament winner will be based on a per-game average over the three days of competition rather than head-to-head winners in a bracket.
The Penguins will bowl in five head-to-head Baker matches based on total pinfall on Friday beginning at 10 am Eastern, and they’ll compete in five traditional matches on Saturday starting at 10:10 am Eastern. The first of those matches on Saturday will be a positional battle, and YSU will bowl against the bye in its final match. Sunday’s slate will include two best-of-seven Baker matches beginning at 9:45 am Eastern, and the final round is scheduled to be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network at noon Eastern.
Friday – Five Baker matches beginning at 10 am Eastern
- vs. #1 McKendree (Lanes 17-18)
- vs. Quincy (Lanes 9-10)
- vs. #22 UW-Whitewater (Lanes 21-22)
- vs. #7 Arkansas State (Lanes 9-10)
- vs. Valparaiso (Lanes 13-14)
Saturday – Five traditional matches beginning at 10:10 am Eastern
- vs. #22 UW-Whitewater (Lanes 9-10)
- vs. #3 Nebraska (Lanes 13-14)
- vs. #25 Central Missouri (Lanes 17-18)
- vs. Valparaiso (Lanes 9-10)
- vs. #7 Arkansas State (Lanes 17-18)
Sunday – Two best-of-seven Baker matches beginning at 9:45 am Eastern
Previewing The Field
Youngstown State will be one of nine teams competing in Lincoln this weekend, and it will be one of six teams ranked in the National Tenpin Coaches Association Top 25 Poll. The field is top-heavy according to the poll rankings with No. 1 McKendree, No. 3 Nebraska, No. 7 Arkansas State and No. 9 Youngstown State making up four of the nine teams. no. 22 UW-Whitewater, which placed second at last week’s Mid-Winter Invitational, and No. 25 Central Missouri are also ranked, and Quincy, Prairie View A&M and Valparaiso complete the field.
Previously at the Big Red Invitational
This is the third straight year that Youngstown State is competing at the Big Red Invitational, and it has bowled quite well in each of the last two visits.
Two years ago, the Penguins pushed Nebraska to seven games in the championship match in a runner-up finish. YSU went 9-4 in head-to-head matches, and three of its four losses came to the third-ranked Huskers.
Last season, the Penguins finished fifth among a field of 11 teams and posted a 9-3 record. Youngstown State broke program records for highest Baker game with a 279, highest-scoring Baker match at 1,145, highest pinfall in a traditional match with a 1,170, and highest Baker round total pinfall with a 5,229.
Emma Wrenn was the top individual finisher with an eight-game set of 1,736 for an average of 217 that placed her 12th. She was one of only three bowlers in the field to top 200 in all eight matches. Madyson Marx finished one pin behind Wrenn in 13th, and Emma Dockery had a strong close to the tournament by shooting 243 and 273 over her final two games to place 16th.
Scouting The Penguins
Youngstown State is ranked ninth in the most-recently National Tenpin Coaches Association Top 25 Poll and has its top six bowlers back from last year’s squad that advanced to the Final Four. The Penguins are averaging nearly seven more pins in traditional play, 3.7 pins more in the head-to-head Baker format and almost 10 pins more in bracket play compared to last season.
Last week at the Mid-Winter Invitational, the Penguins averaged 210.72 over their 18 games on Sunday to have a strong finish in Arkansas. Youngstown State Beat No. 20 Lewis and No. 1 McKendree in bracket play, and YSU beat the top-ranked Bearcats twice at the tournament. YSU went 7-6 overall in head-to-head play and placed eighth in the field of 18 teams.
Individually, Emma Wrenn was the Penguins’ top finisher in 20th with a five-game total of 1,046. Marx topped 200 three times as part of a 963 set that placed her in a tie for 45th, and Jade Cote placed 51st with a 955 as the only other Penguin to bowl in all five matches. Emma Dockery was back in action for the first time this semester and averaged 197.8 over four games.
Megan Grams leads the Penguins in traditional format average at 205.57, and Wrenn (201.72) and Cote (201.66) are both averaging above 201. Each of those three ladies are on pace to break the current school record for individual average.
Youngstown State has one tournament left prior to the Southland Bowling League Championship, the Music City Classic. The tournament in Nashville, Tenn., will be March 18-20, at the Smyrna Bowling Center.