Youngstown State junior Nikki Mendez has earned honorable mention accolades on the 2019 Southland Bowling League all-conference teams, the league announced on Tuesday.
Mendez, a native of Homer Glenn, Ill., is the first Penguins bowler to earn all-conference honors in the program’s history. YSU competed as an independent in its first two seasons and joined the Southland Bowling League in 2018.
"Nikki showed a lot of consistency down the stretch and emerged as an outstanding leadoff bowler,” YSU head coach Doug Kuberski said. “She provides us with great reads on the lanes, is an excellent communicator, and is a teammate in every sense of the word.”
“With as deep with talent as the Southland is, there could have easily been 10-15 additions to the all-conference teams. The talent is that good. We are appreciative of the honor and are looking forward to our second season competing in the conference."
Mendez led the Penguins in team game average and Baker frame average during the 2018-19 campaign. In team games, she posted a 189.40 average and registered 15 games of at least 200. She rolled a season-high 235 twice in the spring, including at the Columbia 300 Music City Classic when she totaled a career-best 1,063 set over five games. In Baker play, she averaged 19.05 pins per frame, which was the best on the squad by 0.47. Mendez bowled primarily in the anchor position her first two-and-a-half years but shifted to the leadoff spot for the spring.
This was the first time that the Southland Bowling League celebrated the successes of student-athletes through an all-conference team. Seven of the eight schools in the conference had a representative on one of the all-conference teams. The teams were chosen based on the Player Composite Performance Index of the league's top 20 bowlers throughout the season and including all Southland Bowling Tournament play. The Southland Bowling League yearly awards are presented by Ready Nutrition.