Junior Nikki Mendez was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2018-19 Youngstown State women's bowling season at the program's postseason banquet over the weekend.
Mendez is the team MVP for the first time in her career. Also an Honorable Mention All-Southland selection in 2018-19, the Homer Glenn, Ill., native led the Penguins in scoring average with a 189.40 over 42 team games. She topped 200 a team-best 15 times, and she was YSU's top individual finisher in three of the final four tournaments of the year. Additionally, she led the Penguins in fill percentage, strike percentage and spare conversion percentage, and she was the leadoff bowler in Baker play.
Six other Penguins were recognized at the postseason banquet. Rachel Darrow earned the High Game award for her school-record-tying 258 against Lincoln Memorial at the Warhawk Classic on Nov. 10. The trio of Emma Dockery, Alexis Sullivan and Emma Wasielewski received National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association Scholar Athlete awards for their success in the classroom. Rachel Ellis, the program's lone senior in 2018-19, received a Senior Award, and Emily Dietz, a junior who will forego her final year of eligibility to take an internship in her field out of the area, received special recognition for her three years of contribution to the program.
In addition to celebrating the accomplishments by student-athletes, the program also saluted several other individuals with special recognition at the banquet. Clint Daley served as the team's interim head coach for the fall semester and led the Penguins to 21 head-to-head victories in four tournaments. Don Hogue, who runs and operates North Star Pro Shop, worked closely with the team this season for its equipment needs. The program also recognized the staff at Holiday Bowl for its support and help in preparing lanes for practice.