Entering its second season of competition, the Youngstown State bowling team is ranked 24th in the National Tenpin Coaches Association Preseason Top 25 poll.
The Penguins received 75 points in the preseason poll that was released on Wednesday. Youngstown State finished the 2016 season, its debut campaign, ranked 25th in the final poll with 38 points.
"It's exciting to see we are starting the season one spot higher than we ended last season," YSU head coach Chelsea Gilliam said. "We have seven of our eight bowlers returning from last year and have brought in some great talent in our freshman class. The team is ready to get back into competition next week, and we look forward to having even more success this year than we did last year.
YSU returns its top seven bowlers from a year ago, including three who averaged at least 186 in traditional matches. Rachel Darrow averaged a team-high 190.59 and led the squad with 19 games over 200 in 2016-17. Alexis Grim averaged 186.97 and had the highest individual game last year at 258, and Nikki Mendez averaged 186.92.
Defending national champion McKendree received 35 of 36 available first-place votes to top the preseason rankings, and Nebraska was second with the other first-place vote. The top 10 also included Arkansas State, Vanderbilt, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, UMES, Fairleigh Dickinson, Sacred Heart and Central Missouri.
The Penguins will begin the 2017-18 campaign at the two-day Bud Whitman Memorial tournament on Oct. 14-15 in Sinking Springs, Pa.