PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The University of Pikeville women’s bowling team used first- and second-place finishes during its week in Las Vegas and repeated it in a strong week in Pennsylvania to close 2011 as the No. 1 team in the country.
That is based on the latest power rankings, released Dec. 30 on the Website www.collegebowling.com.
In its two pre-Christmas tournaments in Vegas, UPIKE won the Sunset Station Las Vegas Invitational and was second in the Texas Station Collegiate Shoot-Out. On the week of Dec. 27-30, the Bears were winners of the Nittany Lion Kegler Classic and finished second in the Keystone Quaker Classic.
The strong finishes moved the Bears to the top of the polls, charging from eighth to first in one week. They are followed by Lindenwood (Mo.), Robert Morris (Ill.), Wichita State and Wright State in the Top 5.
In the Collegiate Shoot-Out, the Bears had two players in the Top 10 and four of the Top 25 individuals. Sophomore Christina Halen made the all-tournament team, finishing second with an average of 224.33. She was joined in the Top 10 by senior Kim Yioulos, who averaged 203.
Junior Brandy Hensley finished 20th in the always-strong field with an average of 190.17, just ahead of freshman Astrid Valiente’s 189.5.
Three Bears finished in the top eight in the LVI, with Yioulos taking top honors thanks to a nine-game average of 214.67. She finished a mere three pins ahead of Midland’s Katie Maher to win the tournament.
Senior Megan Kyle finished sixth overall, averaging 205, while senior Chelsea Gilliam came in eighth at 202.89.
The strong bowling continued post-Christmas when the team arrived in Allentown, Penn. In the Keystone Quaker, the Bears were led by freshman Brianna Larson. She finished seventh with an average of 203.8.
She was joined in the Top 20 by Yioulos, who was 12th at 199.2, and Halen, who came in 16th with an average of 194.8.
Yioulos returned to the top of the field in the Nittany Lion event, leading four Bears in the Top 25 of the pack. She averaged 210.6 to win the event, with Halen coming in third at 200.4 to join her on the all-tournament team.
Larson’s 190 was good for a three-way tie for 11th, while senior Natasha Martin averaged 178.6 to finish 21st in the tournament.
Pikeville has now bowled in eight events this season, with a nation-high five being Tier One events.
MEN STRONG AS WELL: The University of Pikeville men’s bowling squads were also strong in the Nevada events, finishing ninth and 12th in its fields.
The Bears finished 12th in the Collegiate Shoot-Out and ninth in the LVI, competing in 38-team fields in both events.
As a result, the Bears are currently 19th in the Power Ratings.
In the Shoot-Out, sophomore John Bartosiewicz Jr. led the Bears with an average of 219.17 to finish 17th in the stacked field. He was joined in the Top 50 by junior Kyle MeInerney, who was good for 35th with an average of 212.33, and sophomore Robert Gilliam, who was 37th after averaging 211.33.
Freshman Lucas Hohnstein returned to the western part of the country and rode his comfort zone to a second-place finish in the Las Vegas Invitational. The Boise, Idaho, native averaged 223.67 over nine games to make the all-tournament team.
Junior Mark Allen was tied for 12th with his average of 211.56. Sophomore Jeffrey Blind came in 47th, averaging 201.67.
The men are back in action Jan. 14-15 in the Hoinke Bearcat Open, which will be held in Cincinnati.