Commodores Capture Kat Klash Championship

Vanderbilt claims 38th tournament title in program history

by Rod Williamson

CUT AND SHOOT, Texas — Vanderbilt’s dominating two-day performance at the Kat Klash Classic allowed the Commodores to gallop off into the Texas sunset with the championship trophy and a near sweep of individual honors.



Vanderbilt finished the event, determined by total pin fall, by an attention-getting 707 pins ahead of second place Louisiana Tech and all five members of Vandy’s rotation finished among the tournament’s top nine – four placing tied for fourth or higher.

Trailing Vandy and Louisiana Tech in the team standings were host Sam Houston State, Prairie View and Texas Southern, respectively. While the COVID-19 impacted field was smaller than what was once considered normal, the top three teams were all ranked among the nation’s pre-season top nine.

Louisiana Tech’s Kaitlyn Eder was the individual champion, knocking down 1,140 pins for a 228 average, but the Commodores’ Mabel Cummins was second, just 19 pins back. Angelique Dalesandro was third and Vandy freshmen Amanda Naujokas and Caroline Thesier were tied for fourth.

Samantha Gainor was ninth, not far behind.

“This was the most complete team performance for our program in a long time,” associate head coach Josie Barnes said. “We were ahead by so far all day that winning almost felt anticlimactic. We have to stay focused on improving in the weeks and months ahead, however. We can’t start thinking we can coast on past performance.”

The Commodores got off to a rousing start Saturday with an 1127-989 win over host Sam Houston, avenging their only loss in eight tournament games. Dalesandro and Cummins, bowling in the No. 2 and No. 3 slots, turned in 255 and 247 scores and with all five Dores at or above 200, the strike runs were plentiful and balanced.

The bye round was next, snitching some momentum away from Vandy and the following game with Prairie View produced a rather bland 943 winning total.

Dalesandro and Thesier heated things up in Game 4 against Tech, a rapidly improving program with several marquee performers. Thesier cranked out eight in a row from her anchor spot in route to a 265 while Dalesandro almost matched it with a seven-bagger in her 253.

Vanderbilt ended the happy day with yet another powerful game, using four scores of 215 or higher to down Texas Southern, 1,086-916. Naujokas led the onslaught with a flashy 246.

The championship was the 38th in program history. Naujokas, Dalesandro, Cummins and Thesier were all named to the All-Tournament team.

The tourney concluded Vanderbilt’s successful fall campaign. The program’s spring schedule will be announced at a later date.