The Youngtown State bowling team will begin the busiest stretch of its schedule this weekend as it participates at the Crusader Classic in Richton Park, Ill. The tournament is being hosted by Valparaiso at Lakewood Bowl, and the Penguins' matches throughout the weekend will be streamed on the YSUsports YouTube channel.
Scouting The Penguins: Youngstown State continues to receive votes in the National Tenpin Coaches Association Top 25 Poll, and it needs a push to qualify for the USBC ISC & ITC Sectionals that will be held March 9-11. The Penguins have three tournaments between now and then with the Crusader Classic this weekend, the James Brown Invitational in Towson, Md. next weekend and the Hawk Flight in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. the first weekend of March. Senior Mackenzie Olesky leads the Penguins with a 189.57 average over nine team games, and Nikki Mendez has averaged 186.63 over 19 matches.
Tournament Format: The Crusader Classic will follow the standard three-day format with five Baker matches on Friday, five traditional matches on Saturday and three bracket matches on Sunday. Friday's action will start at 10:30 a.m. Eastern, Saturday's team play will also start at 10:30 a.m. Eastern, and Sunday's best-of-seven bracket matches will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern. The All-Tournament Team will be awarded to the top five averages from Saturday's traditional matches among players who start all five games, with the top average earning MVP honors.
Recapping the KU Invitational: Youngstown State won its final two bracket matches in seven games to finish the KU Invitational 19th out of 27 teams on Jan. 21. It was the Penguins' first tournament of the spring schedule. Emily Dietz was YSU's top individual finisher as she placed 44th in a talented field with a five-game total of 986. She topped 200 twice, including bowling a career-high 227 against No. 6 Delaware State. As a team, YSU earned Baker match wins over St. Francis Brooklyn and Morgan State, went 0-5 in traditional games and ended the tournament with a 2-1 record in bracket matches.
Last Year at the Crusader Classic: Youngstown State went 7-5 in head-to-head matches and placed sixth out of 11 teams in last year's Crusader Classic. YSU earned wins over #13 Tulane, #14 Wisconsin-Whitewater and #24 Valparaiso during the weekend.
Scouting The Field: YSU will be one of 15 teams competing at the Crusader Classic this weekend, and the Penguins are one of eight who are ranked or receiving votes in the NTCA Top 25 Poll. Top-ranked Nebraska headlines the field, and other ranked teams include No. 15 Central Missouri, No. 20 Wisconsin-Whitewater, No. 22 Maryville, No. 24 Lincoln Memorial and No. 25 Valparaiso.
Next Up: Youngstown State will bowl at the James Brown Invitational on Feb. 16-18 at AMF Towson Lanes.