The Youngstown State bowling team will conclude its 2017-18 season this weekend as it travels to the highly-competitive Columbia 300 Music City Classic. The tournament will be held in Smyrna, Tenn., at the Smyrna Bowling Center and hosted by Vanderbilt. The Penguins' matches will be streamed on the YSUsports YouTube Channel (pending a strong wireless signal).
Scouting The Penguins: Youngstown State has posted a winning record over its last three tournaments, and it enters the final tournament of the season looking to make a surge back into the Top 25 of the National Tenpin Coaches Association Poll. Emily Dietz has been the Penguins’ top individual finisher in three of YSU’s four tournaments of the spring, and Nikki Mendez was the top finisher at the James Brown Invitational.
Tournament Format: Teams will compete in five Baker matches on Friday, five traditional team matches on Saturday and three best-of-seven Baker bracket matches on Sunday. Baker play on Friday will start at 10:40 a.m. Eastern, Saturday's schedule will begin at 10:30 a.m. ET, and Sunday's bracket matches will start at 9:30 a.m. ET. Teams have been placed into eight four-team pools, and YSU will compete in Pool E along with Sam Houston State, Southern and Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Scouting The Field: The 14th Annual Columbia Music City Classic is the largest NCAA tournament of the regular season with 32 teams in this year’s field. The list of teams includes 20 that are ranked in the top 25 of the most recent NTCA Top 25 Poll, including the teams that were ranked second through ninth. Youngstown State will bowl No. 3 Arkansas State in Baker play on Friday, and it will compete against No. 7 Delaware State on Saturday in a traditional team game. The Penguins may also bowl No. 8 UMES in the first two days depending on the draw for lane assignments.
Recapping the Hawk Flight Invite: Youngstown State placed ninth in the 17-team Hawk Flight Invite that was hosted by Monmouth. The Penguins dropped three close Baker matches by a combined 17 pins to begin the tournament, and it won three traditional matches while climbing three spots up to ninth in the standings. YSU then went 2-1 in bracket play on Sunday to hold that placing. Emily Dietz was the Penguins' top individual finisher with 898 pins, which was good for 20th place. Emma Dockery was one spot back with an 888, and Nikki Mendez was 29th with an 842 as the only other Penguin to bowl five games.