The Youngstown State bowling team will head to Richton Park, Ill., this weekend to compete in the three-day Crusader Classic hosted by Valparaiso. The Penguins will be one of eight ranked teams and one of a dozen overall competing in the tournament, which will be held at Lakewood Bowl.
The field will feature the top two teams in the latest National Tenpin Coaches Association Top 25 Poll in No. 1 Nebraska and No. 2 Arkansas State. Other ranked teams competing at the Crusader Classic include No. 10 Sacred Heart, No. 11 Central Missouri, No. 13 Tulane, No. 14 Wisconsin-Whitewater, No. 23 Valparaiso and No. 24 Youngstown State. The other four teams in the event are Aurura, Elmhurst, Lincoln Memorial and Maryville.
The Penguins will bowl in five Baker matches beginning at 10:27 a.m. Eastern on Friday, and they will bowl in five traditional team games on Saturday starting at 10:35 a.m. Teams will then be bracketed based on total pins from the first two days for three best-of-seven Baker game matches that will begin at 9:27 a.m. on Sunday.
Youngstown State finished 14th last weekend at the competitive SFA Stormin' Ladyjack Invitational. The Penguins placed ahead of three top 15 teams in the tournament and earned a win over No. 7 Stephen F. Austin. That was the Penguins' second win over a top 10 team in a head-to-head match this season.
Nikki Mendez was YSU's top finisher last week in 42nd place with a 192.80 average in five traditional games. Ashley Kolb had the best tournament of her career with a pair of 203 games and a 46th-place finish. She averaged 189.80 to finish 46th and edge teammate Rachel Darrow's average of 188.80. Rachel Ellis and Mackenzie Olesky also bowled the first 200 games of their YSU careers last week.
Youngstown State will be off the final week of February and will resume its inaugural season on March 3 at the Hawk Flight Invite hosted by Monmouth. That three-day tournament will be held at King Pin Lanes in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
Friday's Baker Match Schedule
- Lincoln Memorial
- #23 Valparaiso
- #2 Arkansas State