The Youngstown State bowling team will compete in its final tournament of the fall this weekend when it travels to Houston for the Track Kat Klash. The event will be hosted by Sam Houston State at Emerald Lanes. Youngstown State's first match on Friday against Louisiana Tech and its fourth match on Saturday versus Prairie View A&M will be on the featured pair of lanes and streamed by SHSU. YSU's other matches will be streamed live on the YSUsports YouTube channel.
Tournament Format: The seventh annual Track Kat Klash will have a total of 13 matches with five Baker games on Friday, five team games on Saturday and three best-of-seven bracket contests on Sunday. Saturday's schedule will begin with a positional round where the Penguins will bowl a team in their pool that is either immediately ahead of them or immediately below them in total pins. Youngstown State is one of seven ranked teams that will compete in Pool A. Friday's action will begin at 10:55 a.m. ET, Saturday's round will start at 10:30 a.m. ET, and bracket play will start at 9:20 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Recapping Last Week: After having perhaps its best tournament in program history to start the season three weeks ago, the Penguins struggled with consistency last week against a challenging field at the Brunswick Bearcat Open. Youngstown State had a 3-9 head-to-head record and finished 18th in the 23-team field. The Penguins surpassed 230 in five different Baker games, but they also were under 155 seven times. Ashley Kolb was the top individual finisher last week with a five-game total of 928 pins, and Emily Dietz was two pins behind with a 926. They placed 37th and 41st, respectively.
Scouting the Penguins: Five Youngstown State bowlers are averaging at least 180 in individual games so far this season. Mackenzie Olesky owns the top average at 194.20 from her five games the opening weekend, but she did not compete in last week's tournament. Nikki Mendez is averaging 189.50, Emma Dockery is sitting at 188.00, Ashley Kolb's average is 184.11 and Emily Dietz's is 181.50. As a team, the Penguins have had their two highest-scoring team games in program history this season as well as their third- and fourth-best Baker match totals.
Scouting the Field: Similar to last week's tournament hosted by McKendree, the Penguins will face another tough field in Houston. The field of 21 teams features the top seven teams in the preseason NTCA Top 25 Poll and a total of 14 ranked squads. The Penguins are one of 10 teams in Pool A, and they will bowl nine games against teams in Pool B and one positional round against a Pool A team. Among the teams in Pool B are defending national champion and top-ranked McKendree, #5 Sam Houston State and #6 Stephen F. Austin.
Next Up: Youngstown State will have an 11-week break until its next tournament. The Penguins will begin their spring season at the KU Invitational on Jan. 19. That tournament hosted by Kutztown will be one of five regular-season events that YSU will participate in during the spring slate.
Friday's Baker Match Schedule (Starts at 10:55 a.m. ET)
- #24 Youngstown State vs. Louisiana Tech -- on featured pair
- #24 Youngstown State vs. Texas Southern
- #24 Youngstown State vs. #5 Stephen F. Austin
- #24 Youngstown State vs. #19 UAB
- #24 Youngstown State vs. Jackson State
Saturday's Team Match Schedule (Starts at 10:30 a.m. ET)
- #24 Youngstown State vs. TBA (positional round)
- #24 Youngstown State vs. #12 Delaware State
- #24 Youngstown State vs. #17 Tulane
- #24 Youngstown State vs. #20 Prairie View A&M -- on featured pair
- #24 Youngstown State vs. #1 McKendree