Commodore Notebook: Kat Klash

Vandy heads to Texas for second tournament of fall season

by Rod Williamson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Vanderbilt bowling team is scheduled to continue its season Friday at Sam Houston State’s Kat Klash in a field of five teams at the Time to Spare Center in Cut and Shoot, Texas. Yes, there is a town in Texas named Cut and Shoot, about 40 miles north of Houston and six miles outside Conroe.

The team will fly in and out of the Houston Hobby Airport, about a half-hour from the tournament site.

Vandy has participated in one other tournament previously this month. The Commodores finished third at the LA Tech Invite.

Tournament format: This is a two-day tournament making it shorter and different. There will be five, 5-Game Baker games begin at 8:15 a.m. Friday and five team games Saturday starting at 8 a.m. The final standings will be determined by total pin fall over the two days.

Competing teams (pre-season ranking): Louisiana Tech (9), Prairie View, Sam Houston (5), Stephen F. Austin (7) and Vanderbilt (2).

About this tournament: The Kat Klash has previously been a much larger tournament, usually in Houston, but amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant precautions and protocols, host Sam Houston State was able to secure this field of five. Vanderbilt has attended the event sporadically, the last time being in 2017.

Last time out: The Commodores were third two weeks ago at the LA Tech Invite, winning six of nine contests in what was a pretty typical curtain-raising performance, especially considering the team had not gathered as an entire squad of nine until the tournament began. Vandy played its entire roster with Mabel Cummins’ fifth place individual finish and the final game strike barrage by freshmen Caroline Thesier and Jennifer Loredo being the highlights.

What’s happened at practice? Vandy has worked to correct some technique matters, but head coach John Williamson said, “we also emphasized team chemistry and we hope to see improvement in that area.” Chemistry should be bolstered by a return to the team’s “normal” practice arrangement – one unit of five and a second group of four – as opposed to the threesomes that were dictated by COVID-19 precautions throughout the fall.

“Our two groups were roommate driven – we added one person to the three freshmen, for instance,” Williamson said. “But we could better simulate game conditions. It has been a pretty normal setup aside from our own COVID precautions.”

COVID-19 protocols continue: The protocols begin before Vandy leaves campus with testing for all team members and coaches 72 hours before departure. There will be no spectators at the event, a mask mandate is in place, games will be spread out across the roomy Time to Spare Center and daily COVID-19 checks will be required.

Following the tournament: Vanderbilt will have its YouTube channel running for each Commodore match and  host Sam Houston State will livestream every match of the tournament on its school YouTube page.

Travel squad: Vanderbilt will take its entire nine-woman roster. For Commodore newcomer Angelica Anthony, it’s a homecoming as she is from nearby Conroe.