Ladyjack Bowling continues to impress in 2018-19, preparing for USBC Sectionals

Members of the bowling team look on as their teammates strive for strikes.

On Sunday the Ladyjack bowling teamed took fifth place in Dallas as the team participated in the fifth annual Stormin’ Ladyjack Classic tournament.

SFA established its bowling team in 2009. The program has made three NCAA tournament appearances, finishing runner- up in the 2014-15 season, and the team earned its first national title for the 2015-16 season. The bowling season lasts almost an entire academic year. The Ladyjacks began by finishing second place in October during the Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Invitational.

“We’re all super skilled. A lot of us have done it for a lot of years,” Senior Dakotah Hazlewood said. “We put in a lot of hours practicing, and we work hard. We have workouts twice a week and practice usually five times a week for at least three hours a day. So, it takes a lot of dedication and time to do what we do.”

This win is among many others, including finishing first in the Kutztown Invitational and first in the Sunshine State Winter Classic. The Ladyjacks went undefeated in the Winter Classic, winning against the highest ranked teams, No.2 Vanderbilt and No.3 Nebraska. In the National Tenpin Coaches Association February Poll, SFA was ranked seventh, rising three spots from its previous rank. Head coach Amber Lemke, coaching her seventh year for the Ladyjacks, said the second semester is when all the players work hard to make it to postseason.

“The second semester is where we take off because everybody is finding their place in the team,” Lemke said.

Lemke described what practice looks like for the SFA bowling team. She said a lot of their practice deals with physical game work, spare shooting and making sure the girls are mentally prepared and confident when they compete.

Individual statistics include Hazlewood averaging a score of 205.63 and being named Kutztown Invitational MVP and the top individual award. Hazlewood and Senior Paige Beeney said they have taken on the senior leadership role being the only two seniors on the team. Hazlewood said they want to focus on keeping the team together. Beeney, averaging a score of 203.1, was named the Sunshine Winter Classic MVP after finishing third with a team-best score of 256.

“We definitely have met some expectations, but we still want to get to nationals again. We have to continue to keep meeting those expectations,” Beeney said. “We still have a lot of season left, so we need to continue doing what we’re doing and keep working hard.”

Ladyjacks bowling will play at the USBC Sectionals in Dallas March 8-10. The Southland Bowling League Championship is set for March 22-24.

“It’s fun when we are out in the community and people recognize that we’re a sport and a part of athletics. Athletics has really amped up everything to make people aware that we have a team,” Lemke said.

“People just don’t know we exist because we are a smaller team. The community as a whole supports athletics in a great way.”

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